I did a bunch of driving around today and visited 10 different lakes and the ice is in various conditions. But what really confused me is some of the lakes that normally have the earliest ice out have solid ice all around them yet and some of the larger lakes have had shores open up. I am done trying to understand this year!
What I found was Lower South Long Lake had a large amount of shoreline that was open. This is pretty typical with all the inflowing streams on the lake. Ice was anywhere from very dark to slightly dark. I took a peak by the dam and there wasn’t any fish present yet but that movement should be happening at any movement.
I put on chest waders and actually walked out on Perch Lake, right in the city limits of Baxter. Other than the access, the entire shoreline was still froze solid to the bottom. It was honeycombed but it was shocking to see the shoreline so locked up yet. Now the access is on the south side of the lake so that may have something to do with it but as shallow as the bay is and all the snow being gone on the shoreline, it was a little bit shocking the ice was in that good of conditions.
371 bay of North Long actually looks like it could go out at any time. The shorelines were eroded and the ice looked black. There were a few fishermen out on the Merrifield bay today and I talked to one of the fishermen that said he things the ice could go off over night and most likely definitely over the weekend with the wind and temperatures that are coming.
Round is getting pretty black as well.
Gull has a good amount of open water along the shoreline. The best thing we have going for us there is the channels are open and with this warm sun and wind in the forecast, the ice is going to take a beating with the flow. If you wish to watch the ice conditions on Gull, Grand View Lodge on the north side of the lake has a great lake view camera that you can view here: http://www.grandviewlodge.com/lake-cam/.
The Mississippi is wide open but Rice Lake by the park still had a good amount of ice but I am expecting that to open fairly quick.
Here is a great satellite view of the upper midwest:
I have been checking in on this often as well. It is really promising to see the lakes turning dark to the south of us!
We can only hope that the warm weather and wind does some serious damage. My guess is we will have some open water for the opener. I am a little concerned about Gull and the main lake of North Long. I will be monitoring the ice conditions every few days because I have a serious crappie itch that needs too be scratched with a 7 foot ultralight!
Nate Berg Fishing Guides