Be careful on the ice

Ice conditions throughout Sunset Country have been changing rapidly over the past week and anglers need to exercise extreme caution when venturing onto the ice if they choose to go fishing before the end of the month.
Last year I fished walleyes right up until April 14 on Lake of the Woods, but the same situation is not likely going to play out this year.
Temperatures warmed up quickly and with rain added to the mix, the ice is deteriorating fast!
There are a couple of other factors contributing to poor late-season ice.
The first is the large amount of snow we got early in the winter. The big dumps in December insulated the ice significantly early on and made for slushy conditions.
Despite all the cold weather we endured, the ice never got really thick this year—maybe 30 inches on most waters where it normally gets to be closer to 40 inches.
It also appears that the dams controlling the outflow of Lake of the Woods are letting out a significant amount of water right now because areas with even small amounts of current are popping open rapidly.
The same scene likely can be found on Rainy Lake, which has a massive current flowing through it.
Snow also has been melting quickly given temperatures haven’t fallen below the freezing point over the past few days.
This, in turn, has allowed for large amounts of run-off to enter area lakes, melting shoreline ice quickly.
Anglers still have some fishing opportunities available—just be cautious when you head out. It is my opinion that trucks should not be taken on the ice anymore.
There were a couple of accidents on the south end of Lake of the Woods, in the Northwest Angle region, over the weekend, although it sounds like they were a result of people travelling where they did know the ice conditions.
Instead of taking a vehicle on the ice, take advantage of some of the lakes we have where walking out is an option. Around Kenora, for instance, there are great places to walk out and catch lake trout, walleyes, and crappies.
Fort Frances offers similar opportunities. In fact, one of my favourite crappie spots is about a two- minute walk from a major road close to the Fort.
Walking out will be an option for anglers for a few days, but if you do go, make sure you travel with a friend. And if you feel like it is not safe, then don’t go.
We’ll be able to get in a boat soon enough, and have the opportunity to catch all the fish we want, so try not to take any chances.
Speaking of fishing out of a boat, anglers can start taking advantage of the flowing Rainy River until April 15 to catch walleyes. I’ve not had a lot of reports coming in yet, but I’m sure anglers are out there.
Look for holes and neck-down areas in the river, and fish with a jig-and-minnow combo.

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Be careful on the ice

Fort Frances OPP is reminding people to take extra caution when travelling on local lakes and rivers.
With the recent cold conditions, people are starting to travel on lakes that still have open water and ice that is unsafe.
Snow, wind, thawed and re-frozen ice, and under-flowing water can cause unseen changes in the ice quality.
Police advise people to check ice conditions prior to travelling across lakes and rivers, and stay on marked trails whenever possible.