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Brad Laabs column: Lakes are making ice like crazy now

Fishing Columnist Brad Laabs

The huge benefit of this severe cold front right before the new year is the improvement to the ice conditions in our area. When we have multiple days below zero and excessive below zero overnight lows, we will make an inch or more of ice every 24 hours.

There will be drivable ice now, even though we have had a number of people driving on ice that wasn't ready over the last week or 10 days. With the additional snow on the lakes, sled travel is about perfect and there is not too much snow for the wheelers to get around with ease. As always, check before venturing into unexplored areas. Ice conditions can still vary. Safety first!

With the new year, it is always worth a time of reflection on your last year's fishing experiences, and an opportunity to set some fishing goals for the next year. This reflection time has prompted me to publicly thank our local "Let's Go Fishing" crew of volunteers for all they do to get the young, elderly, handicapped, and veterans out to enjoy the lakes and fishing.

We have several walleye clubs that do so much for youth and veterans—thank you for what you do. The F-M Walleye, Twin City Walleye Unlimited, and Walleye Searchers do so much to promote fishing and fellowship. If you have a desire, ability, or the time to contribute to some of the many events each of these clubs/organizations provide, feel free to contact them and get involved.

Other community groups get involved in several types of community fishing events during the summer and, now, with ice fishing events. Volunteering and participating benefits you as much as it may help others or their causes. If you have benefited from one of these experiences, let them know that what they do makes a difference.

Most volunteers involved in these activities don't even expect a thank you, they love the sport and want to share it, but when someone does recognize what they do with a "thank you," it feels good, is welcomed, and can be motivating to continue for the sake of others.

If you don't have the time for organized activities with groups or clubs, you can always pay it forward with family, friends, and neighbors. For those of us that get out all the time, it becomes easy to take for granted the experience of being on the water, seeing nature in action, the thrill of a bite/hookset/fish fight, the amazing sunrises and sunsets from the water, and so much more.

Getting someone else out to share that is special for them and will be for you also. Sometimes it can stimulate someone to get active again with the pursuit of a lost hobby, or ignite an interest for them they didn't have before.

Have a safe, blessed, and happy new year!

Laabs owns Brad Laabs Guide Service in Detroit Lakes