While some decry the freezing cold temperatures brought on by Iowa winters, some in the state may think the warmer temperatures have been too much. Mick Klemesrud of the Department of Natural Resources sums up the feelings of those who like to ice fish in Iowa. Klemesrud says it’s a “real strange winter” as the ice fishing is bad even up into central Minnesota. Klemesrud says we have had a stringer full of missed ice opportunities, as he says it’s been at least six years since there’s been a good consistent amount of ice for ice fishing. Klemesrud recently checked and found ice conditions less than ideal, even in the normally hot ice fishing areas. He says most of the lakes in northern Iowa have shifting ice conditions.
Klemesrud says there are some areas where you can walk out on the ice at Clear Lake and other lakes in northern Iowa. He says some of the ice is clear and very slippery. Klemesrud says the variable temperatures keep the ice from forming into a solid cover. Klemesrud says there were about 40 shack out on the Spirit Lake during Christmas, but he says there are areas where the lake freezes, then opens up, then refreezes, and that makes poor ice. Ice fishing normally allows anglers to walk to areas that’re out of reach for fishing at other times of the year. But the ice on Iowa’s waterways has been a less than certain occurrence this year. Klemesrud says the changing ice conditions require extra vigilance. He says you should use a lot of caution and never go out alone.
Klemesrud says ice can form quickly if the weather is right. Klemesrud says good ice requires the three “C’s”, clear, calm and cold at night. He says if the wind dies down, the temperatures drop and there are no clouds — it doesn’t take long to put ice back on the water. Klemesrud says he’s heard of ice anglers with an itch to get out and are turning to their normal fishing mode. Klemesrud says he’s heard of a lot of people talking about doing some open water fishing with boats, or using a slip bobber to give the same presentation as ice fishing. And he says some are looking at going to open water areas of rivers to seek the big fish. Klemesrud says the ice will remain uncertain until Iowa gets and extended cold period.