After shaky start, ice now has some stability

By Bill Bartusek

We have all settled in after the holidays, and so have the area ice anglers. After a shaky start, the ice on area lakes has some stability.

Unlikely as it may seem, the warm weather a week or so ago made things better - though it brought back memories of bad ice a few years ago. The lakes refroze, and ice started to thicken up.

I traveled over a few area lakes and found about 16 inches of pretty good ice. The lake surfaces have little snow, and travel can be done by cars as well as trucks.

As always some of the lakes have few anglers, while others are like small cities. What I did see on most lakes was too much garbage left on the ice. Everyone needs to clean up before leaving the ice!

Fishing has been pretty good too! Panfish are always popular, and many lakes are providing good action.

Some of the best action has come from Roberds Lake, Lake Mazaska, Lake Washington and Prior Lake. There has even been some good walleye action on Circle, Roberds and Prior.

As more people hit the ice, noise has pushed the bite for walleyes well after dark.

Northern pike action has also been good. Anglers should check out Clear Lake in Waseca as well as Lake Washington for pike action.

Up north, ice conditions are still an issue in some areas. Lake Mille Lacs had slush problems early, and things are finally getting better there. The south side of the lake is better than the north side. Red Lake is a bit better. However, stay on the plowed roads, and keep your eyes open for water on the ice.

Lake of the Woods is in great shape, and the bite has been excellent. People are getting out to the better areas, and they are catching some nice fish.

This week has some real cold weather coming, and that should help rid northern lakes of the slush. Keep in mind that ice is never safe, so use common sense before venturing out onto unknown water.

Good luck fishing, be safe and remember to pick up your garbage before you leave!

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