It’s hard to believe that this year’s ice fishing season is winding down. The DNR’s shanty removal deadline of March 31st is fast approaching, but it may not be as big a factor as in years past. Aside from the Heikki Lunta Winterfest, Teal Lake hasn’t seen much action. To help tackle the issue, we sent ABC 10’s Danielle Davis ice fishing with a seasoned vet.
Continuous frigid temperatures have made access to ice fishing hotbeds, like Teal Lake, rather difficult. Without a clear path to the holes anglers know and love, less and less lines are being cast.
“This isn’t just specific to Teal Lake, other lakes are having this problem this winter, too. It has to do with the persistent cold temperatures we’ve had, it hard to access the lake, so on Teal Lake people have used plows to make pathways out to where their shanties are. The snow is very deep and it’s also caused a lot of slush to form underneath the snow and over the ice,” said Debbie Munson–Badini, DNR, Deputy Public Information Officer.
“There is a foot of semi–solid slush with a three–inch cap of ice on top of the ice, then there is another foot of snow, then there is another foot of ice on top of that. If you took a vehicle out there it would get bogged down in that,” said Tim Heist, Veteran Ice Fisherman.
But with the right equipment in hand, some true-blue Yoopers have ventured out to try their luck. Despite the snow, ice, slush and freezing temperatures the draw of the sport can’t keep fishermen, young and old, away very long. If you happen to catch the spirit to go to ice fishing, be forewarned, there’s no standing around, even I was put to work. Scooping out slush from the hole. Banking. Then, finally, I was allowed to cast a line.
But true Yooper or not, these ice fishers tell me, no matter what, they put safety first.
“We fish in places where cell phones don’t work and there is nobody around so you want to be careful, real careful because your survival depends on it. The good thing about us is we have a shack, a heater, we can stay warm and comfortable,” continued Heist.
According to Tim, it’s all about telling a good story and having a good time and if they are lucky, the ice here at Teal Lake may stick around until May.
For ABC 10 and CW 5 News Now, I’m Danielle Davis.