We are coming to the time of the ice season when ice fishing derbies are popular.

Many of the fundraising organizations and community celebrations host and include these ice events, which are family friendly and provide a great social event to distract us from the long winter weather.

This year we will need to pay attention to community announcements about the events, as the weird ice conditions brought on by the up and down weather and heavy snow loads may put some of the events at risk.

There have been other issues that have caused cancellations, postponements, or re-scheduling of events in the past. Many times the communities or sponsoring agencies have alternative plans.

A huge Brainerd event is scheduled for next Saturday. This is one of the biggest events in the state. They are checking ice daily, and are hopeful the extreme cold will help build ice quickly. The bay the event is hosted in was ranging from 8 to 12 inches of ice as of last weekend.

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They had received some of the rain the twin cities also received last week and that was very helpful for the ice. The rain helped knock down the snow cover that was insulating the ice and preventing the ice from thickening up. With the snow knocked down, hope are high that the ice will be ready for the event.

We have not had the snow knocked down for us, and we keep getting more. The last snow was light and that is helpful for keeping the additional weight down on the ice, but unfortunately keeps providing more insulation that keeps our ice growth slow, even in the middle of below-zero weather.

We have a few smaller, shallow lakes that have up to 15 inches of ice and can support truck traffic, but the majority of the lakes in the area will still need more cold and no snow to get to a thickness that can support truck travel. It is still best to stick to sled, wheeler, side by side, or snobear travel on the majority of area lakes. Check with resorts and bait shops before heading out on your chosen lake.

We are also getting to the time of the winter when the boat and recreation shows become an alternative to getting out on the ice. These shows have vendors selling new products and offering early deals on all marine and fishing products. They also have industry professionals presenting programs teaching the use of new products, or providing information that can help improve angling skills.

These shows are a great opportunity to get in on good deals and visit with pro staff representatives. These events also stimulate hope and excitement for the upcoming spring and the open water season coming for 2020.

(Laabs owns Brad Laabs Guide Service in Detroit Lakes)