Many changes happening this time of year

By Bill Bartusek

Anglers found a few changes this past weekend as they ventured out on the ice. First they noticed that all the houses were off the ice. The warm weather melted the snow and there was water on the ice. Probably the biggest change was one you couldn't see.

As we cut holes in the ice we looked for crappies in or near their deep haunts. They had been there just a few days ago. Our electronics revealed that these deeper haunts had been vacated. The fish had slipped away into shallower water. This is a normal migration this time of year. We found the fish in water at least 10 feet shallower than a week ago. The fish are still active and can readily be caught. You will find sunfish heading for the shallows too. They will be heading for shallow bays containing some green weeds if they can find them. When they get there they really get active and the bite can be exciting.

Ice conditions remain pretty good despite all the water on the lakes, especially where you drive on. I did hear of a vehicle falling through in the metro area. Things should look better after this cooler front comes through. I would keep a close eye on the ice as we warm up again. The ice on the lakes this year isn't super thick and it's thickness varies from lake to lake. Conditions could deteriorate quickly once warmer weather comes, especially with some rain. That may not be for awhile if cold weather persists. Will just have to wait and see.

The snow has left quickly for now. Soon wood duck houses will need to be set out and old ones cleaned. Geese are already starting to pair off and check out ponds and sloughs for the upcoming nesting season. Hopefully, they're right and spring isn't far off.

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