|
|
The Sleepy Eye Herald Dispatch
  • Always know the ice before venturing out on a frozen lake

  • ’Tis the first-ice honeymoon and several dozen anglers anxious for thick ice ventured out on Sleepy Eye Lake recently. On Friday, Dec. 13 there was one permanent ice house on the lake. By Monday, several dozen more had followed.
    • email print
      Comment
  • ’Tis the first-ice honeymoon and several dozen anglers anxious for thick ice ventured out on Sleepy Eye Lake recently. On Friday, Dec. 13 there was one permanent ice house on the lake. By Monday, several dozen more had followed.
     
    However, Sleepy Eye Parks Department Director Daryl Bergs cautioned that no ice is ever completely safe.
    For many people, fishing is the most relaxing way to spend the day. And in the winter months the most popular angling activity is ice fishing.
     
    According to Bergs, many species of fish are available for the catching on Sleepy Eye Lake including perch, crappie, sunfish, walleyes northerns, bullheads and catfish.
     
    With a cooler start to winter than previous years, Sleepy Eye Lake has been making good ice. While the lake began to freeze earlier than the past several years, as of Friday, Dec. 13 there was 13 inches of ice on the lake near Sportsman’s Park.
     
    Bergs said there was a corner of the lake on the southwest side that remained open until just recently because of a couple hundred geese sitting on the ice. That open water has since frozen over.
     
    While many have already set up camp with permanent fish houses somewhat earlier than other years, Bergs said that temperature, snow cover, currents, springs and rough fish all affect the stability of ice which could be two feet thick in one place and one inch thick a few yards away. It is important to check ice depth at least every 150 feet.
     
    “There is a lot of clear areas on the ice that will help with oxygenation of the lake, but there are some areas where the ice is snow covered,” Bergs explained. “Snow can add a level of insulation keeping the ice from being as thick as it could be.”
     
    Snow insulates the ice, preventing cold air from getting through, which slows down the ice formation process. Heavy snow pushes down on the ice and could cause cracks.
     
    According to the Minnesota DNR, four inches of new, clear ice is the minimum thickness recommended for travel by foot. A minimum of five inches is recommended for snowmobiles and ATVs, and at least 8-12 inches is advised for cars and small trucks. Items recommended for checking ice thickness include an ice chisel, ice auger, cordless drill and a tape measure. Anglers heading out onto the ice should also carry ice claws and a long rope, and wear a floatation device and ice cleats. Consult with a local bait shop or lakeside resort for the most current ice conditions.
     
    Ice fishing is more than just a way to fill the long days of winter. It’s a chance to breathe the cold, clean winter air, to spend quiet time outdoors with family and friends, and to relax and collect one’s thoughts away from the hustle and bustle of a busy world.
    Page 2 of 2 -  

        calendar