Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Ice Out

Ice out days for Mille for the Past 39 Years
When the ice has melted off a lake here in Minnesota, we traditionally call the event Ice Out.  It's a real big deal as most of our lakes have been frozen over since December and it marks the beginning of a new year of open water fishing.  The most notable lakes are the large ones like Lake Mille Lacs and Leech Lake as it sets the stage for what the fishing conditions might be for this years Minnesota Fishing Opener on May 13th.  An early ice out usually means that the spawn will have been completed and the traditional 2 to 3 weeks of recovery will be over so the fish tend to bite better. This is not always the case but can provide a good indicator of how the fishing will be.  I feel that Mille Lacs Lake is the one who's ice out sets the tone for the state.  Ice out is often defined as when someone can drive a boat unimpeded from Garrison, MN on the Northwest corner of the lake to Isle, MN which is in the Southeast corner of the lake.  The average date for the ice to leave Mille Lacs is April 27.  The earliest on record was March 26, 2012 and the latest on record is May 14, 2013 so you see there is little correlation from year to year.  Early ice out means and early spawn and the bite is usually better by fishing opener but that's
2017 MN Ice out map
not always the case.  In 2008 we still had ice on Leech Lake at opener, it wasn't officially declared Ice Out however we could get our boats into the harbor at the resort and fish the part of the lake that was open and it was absolutely fabulous!  I remember scooping up ice from the lake for the coolers however even with the cold water, fishing was excellent.  So much for that theory!  Admittedly we caught a lot of 15 - 17 inch fish which tend to be males and that makes sense.  This year's early Ice Out on Leech Lake should bode well for our 44th Annual Team Walleye opener.  The walleyes should be done spawning by May 1 and by the 13th they should really have the feedbag on.  Unfortunately the early ice out on Mille Lacs means the pre spawn netting starts.  Interesting as there will only be a catch and release season on Mille Lacs this year however when the lake was iced over till May 14th, that year we had a record spawn and the lake is just full of 14 - 16 inch walleyes............perfect for the gill nets.  It's sad but there is little one can do.   With the Minnesota Walleye Opener about 4 weeks away now things are looking like it could be a fantastic opener this year.  Time will tell!

Limit of 23 - 27 inch walleyes from Lake Erie this week.
The boat finally got dropped off at Frankie's on Friday for some minor but critical work.  First the kicker motor has to get worked on as it hardly started toward the end of last year.  The kicker is a 9.8 hp Evinrude 4 stroke made by Tohatsu and it's a nice engine when it runs!  Apparently the EPA regulations for these types of motors requires them to run so lean that they are difficult to get started again, and mine was no exception!  There are some "secret" adjustments that can be made to get them to run better.  As well they will change the oil, add what is known as an I troll to help control the throttle better, along with a new remote control electric steering for the motor.  This might be overkill however I am anxious to have better control over my trolling methods.  Another thing which is getting done is and aerator timer on my bait well.  In Canada the baitwell in my boat is indispensable as it makes getting minnows a heck of a lot easier than grabbing the minnow bucket from over the side every time.  The problem is the aerator in the bait well runs constantly,  I would like a timer that runs for a minute then rests for 5 as one doesn't need it running all the time.  Other things that are happening, my friend Bill Lundeen is up in Duluth fishing Lake Superior.  He usually is in Arizona at this time driving his mom back to Onamia but she didn't go this year and both he and Kathy need a break!  Also my friend Kevin Aiona and his son Ben are at Lake Erie pre fishing the upcoming Cabela's National Walleye Tournament, on Lake Erie the 11th and 12th of this week.  Ben texted me a picture of their limit of 8 walleyes in the 23 to 27 inch class.  His biggest was 31 inches and I don't know why he wouldn't send me THAT picture but it's OK, I'm sure it will turn up somewhere.  

Easter Weekend is coming up and often it occurs around my mothers birthday.  Unfortunately these days she is not doing so good but I am pretty sure she will be around to see her 83rd birthday. I am sure I will be spending time with her this weekend and hopefully will have a good time as I don't think she has too many more in her.  I did spend last Sunday with my brother Steve at mom's visiting and helping him rig up an HDS 12 on his Lund boat.  We moved his existing HDS 8 up to the bow and set up the boat so he could network them together.  He is thinking about getting a Motorguide i5 like I have so we are expanding his NMEA 2000 network to handle that as well.  He is getting pretty set up with updated electronics, a SonicHub audio server, the Motorguide, maybe a Point One GPS receiver.  Looks like I have lots to continue doing for him as he, along with my sister Beth, have done and outstanding job taking care of mom.  God Bless them!


Beaver Creek Cabins & Guide Service said...

I wonder if Ranger phased out or made the timed aerator an option. My last two Rangers had timed aerators. Definitely nice in the heat of the summer to not worry about switching the pumps on.

Dave Anderson said...

Keith, My livewell has a timer on it's pump but not the baitwell. Kind of frustrating but it is what it is!