MINNETONKA, Minnesota (WCCO) – This time of year, Minnesota’s ice fishermen are bracing themselves.
“They’re just getting ready. You have to put line on their reels, oil for their augers, ”said Bob Sonenstahl, who has been running Wayzata Bait and Tackle for 47 years and fishing even longer.
“When I was a kid here on Thanksgiving Day, we always fished on one of these lakes,” Sonenstahl said. “There was still 2 inches of ice somewhere, we could find it and get on it. But now, with the number of people, the traffic, and the heat, these things don’t turn out like that. “
At Gray’s Bay in Minnetonka, ice covers much of the water, but not everywhere. So, like many lakes across the state, it won’t be safe for a while.
For example, the average date for Lake Minnetonka being completely covered in ice is December 8. With our warmer weather, it will likely be later this year.
As you go further north, of course, the ice cover increases. White Earth Lake in Waubun has a light cover over the water with a thickness of 2 inches on the shore.
The Department of Natural Resources says 4 inches is the minimum for ice fishing, and to make sure it is at least 8 inches before driving a car on the frozen lake. They also remind us that no ice cream is ever 100% safe, regardless of its thickness. The DNR advises checking the ice every 150 feet.
“Always being careful. Walk with a chisel, check as you go. Common sense, ”Sonenstahl said.
Use it and you’ll be ready for ice fishing season when it arrives.