It is time to call it -- the ice fishing season is over.

Most ice anglers have no problem accepting this reality, but some die hard ice fishing junkies will want to test limits. Accept nature, it is over.

The ice is extremely inconsistent, unpredictable, and unsafe now. We are officially in the "tweener time." That is the time between safe ice and open water. We will have shallow ponds and the smaller shallow lakes open in a matter of days. Some of the other area lakes will follow a week or two from now. If things continue as forecast, our area lakes will have open-water pan fish activity a two to three weeks ahead of our average start.

I am writing this article from up north at the Rainy River. The catch and release season for walleyes on the open river is in full swing. Birchdale, Frontier, and Vidas accesses are open as well as the Sawmill access in Baudette.

By next week, I expect Four Mile Bay and the gap area out on Lake of the Woods will also be in play. My first full day on the river was Wednesday, March 24.

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The season is open here until April 14. The Missouri River at Bismarck, N.D., and Chamberlain, S.D., also have hot bites going for walleyes now. Use this "tweener" time to travel to open water action.

(Laabs owns Brad Laabs Guide Service in Detroit Lakes)