Long-awaited cold and snow finally arrive here

By Bill Bartusek

Winter has arrived! Cold weather and snow have finally come to the area. Anglers have been dealing with poor ice for over a month in our area. Now the cold weather has made ice conditions much better. Temperatures below zero have been creating more ice every day. In many cases, sometimes more than one inch per day.

Snow has also come to the area. This should excite snowmobilers and the like. I would say the cold has also improved the fishing. During the balmy weather, the fish also become lethargic. It sure seems like they have started to bite a bit better than they were last week.

Ice conditions in our area have really improved. North of the Twin Cities, most lakes have a lot of ice. Full-sized vehicles are driving out on the lakes in most places. Mille Lacs Lake has good ice, and angling has improved again. Reports from the big lake have been excellent. All the big lakes in the north are doing well. Leech, Winnie, Cass and Lake of the Woods are all reporting some really good fishing.

However, snow is still lacking, especially from the Twin Cities north. I just made the drive to Aitkin and was able to see the snow. In most northern areas of the state, the cover runs anywhere from two to four inches at most. I am not sure how far north you have to go to find good snow for snowmobiling activities.

Ice should continue to improve, even though we now have snow in the area. The forecast calls for more cold weather and that should help. I look for fishing to continue to be good, because fish haven't received the pressure they normally get. After people start driving around, things may slow down.

Until then, enjoy the good fishing.

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