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Ice Almost Out: Some lakes still aren’t ice-free days before fishing opener

Ice Almost Out: Some lakes still aren’t ice-free days before fishing opener
Published: May. 10, 2022 at 8:33 PM CDT|Updated: May. 11, 2022 at 12:48 AM CDT
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DULUTH, MN. (KBJR) - Fishing opener in Minnesota is an exciting weekend for anglers and an important one for businesses near bodies of water.

“Opener kind of kicks off our season and starts the tourism up in this area, and really gets things going for us,” said Curt Luchi, owner of Forest Lane Resort, which sits on Lake Vermilion’s Big Bay.

According to Luchi, this spring’s cold weather means he’s seeing ice later than ever before.

“Up until a couple of days ago, we were thinking that the ice might still be here by opener,” said Luchi.

Though it had a late start, he said now the ice is melting fast.

“It started going away yesterday, I had some open water and now with the wind, it just shifts around.”

Luchi said he’s getting his hope from a neighboring bay, which is already ice-free.

Pike Bay on Lake Vermilion is experiencing open water now, but just three weeks ago it was covered with ice, up to 26 inches thick.

Nearby at Fortune Bay Marina, there’s still a bit of ice left too.

“We went out through the narrows yesterday on a pontoon and there was a consistent sheet going across the lake,” said Brian Hacker, R.V. and Marina Manager at Fortune Bay.

He said he’s seeing much less hard water than just a few days ago.

Although the ice is disappearing, there’s one more problem both Hacker and Luchi said they’re experiencing in this unusual year, too much water.

“Normally, I have a sandy beach here, about eight feet of sand, but the water’s come up a good four feet since last year,” said Luchi.

He said rain and snowmelt are making the lake higher than he’s ever seen it.

It’s a problem for anyone putting in their docks, but possibly creates better conditions for fishing.

“It’s actually a good thing for anybody who wants to fish because it means the rocks are further down,” said Hacker.

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