As promised, I would put out another reminder that the ice fishing season for walleyes and northern pike closes at midnight this Sunday (Feb. 24).
Your fishing license will also expire at midnight on the 28th, so if you continue to fish for gills, crappies, perch, or tullibees the rest of this ice season, you will need to purchase and have your new license with you starting Friday, March 1.
If you live here, you realize we have again been hit by a cold front, followed by additional snow. If you are visiting, you will notice that we have significant snow cover. This is making for continued difficulty traveling on area lakes, unless you are traveling by snowmobile.
Vehicles should stick to plowed roads and trails on the area lakes. Getting off trail is high risk for getting stuck. With the amount of snow cover and the significant weight on the ice, expect some flooding and slushing. We still have very thick ice, and the ice is safe - well, as safe as ice on the lakes can be!
Due to the risk of flooding issues on many of the area lakes, make sure you block up wheel and skid houses, even if you are only taking them out for a day or two. This will help prevent any risk for freezing down. House removal if you get frozen in, is not an easy issue to resolve. If you have house out on the lake, but haven't been to it for a week or so, get out and check it, and block it up a little higher if you plan on leaving it until house removal dates.
With the additional snow cover now and the thick ice conditions from our below normal temperatures for most of the ice season, you will want to make sure you have your extension with you for your auger.
Some lakes will require an extension, a few still do not, but it never hurts to have it, even if you don't need it. It is a killer to need it and not have it along!
If you are setting a house on the deep snow, and blocking it up, you will need your extension for your auger. Fish house removal dates for houses south of highway 10 and 34 are March 4 (there is my reminder for that date coming at us fast!), so make sure you don't procrastinate.
Make plans and line up the help you need for your house removal. Remember too, that you can't leave your house at the public access after you get it off the lake. Make this hard winter easier on yourself.
(Laabs owns Brad Laabs Guide Service in Detroit Lakes)