While most people don’t like the winter cold, it is appreciated by those who like to drop a line through the ice to catch some fish. The chief of the D.N.R. fisheries bureau, Joe Larscheid, says there’s been a lot of enjoyment this winter in one of the best ice fishing seasons in recent memory.

He says it’s “been an excellent ice fishing season, and you can’t say enough about that.” Larschied says several factors have combined to help those who want to try their luck on a lake. Larscheid says there has been a lot of good ice and he says there are also a lot of good fish populations. He credits efforts to renovate lakes, which he says have produced lots of eight to nine-and-half-inch bluegills. Larcheid says you can catch your limit of bluegills pretty easily in many areas.

Ice fishing is popular because it doesn’t cost a lot to buy the gear to get started. “That’s the beauty of ice fishing, it’s the great equalizer, you don’t need boats, you don’t need fancy equipment,” Larschied says. He says everyone has the same access via the ice, and once you find the hot spot where the fish are lurking, you can do well.

Larschied says the number of people who fish during the winter is lower, but more fish are caught through the ice per angler in the shorter season than are caught during the spring, summer and fall. Those heading out to ice fish should be sure they renewed their licenses, as 2010 licenses expired on January 10th.