Well, what an ice season we had. I’ve never seen conditions like this in my lifetime. We had 2 major thaws and freezes during this winter that (for the most part) kept ice conditions safe on the bay and river, but also created more rough and thin ice traps then I’ve ever seen before. How we avoided any life lost this season is both amazing and a tribute to our Coast Guard. I swear, one day I thought I was in the middle of an LZ in Vietnam with all the helicopters flying back and forth over my house plucking people off the Bay.
We fished one day last week in -4 degree weather on 16 inches of ice, and were only 1/4 mile from open water. I feel a lot of what was going on (in part) had to do with all the water we lost this past year from the Great Lakes. This coming spring and summer may be a tough proposition launching your big boats at many of the River and Bay-side marinas. I do know that Linwood Beach has had the foresight to get ahead of this low water game and is continuing to improve their ramps and dredge their marina and channel even now. And that a few of the State launches have been appropriated the money to dredge this spring. But some of the other smaller public and private launches on the river and along the bay might be forced out of business by the low water. Do yourselves a favor starting this spring and call ahead for launching conditions and information to any destinations before spending the time and money.
As far as actual fish catching reports, things have been a little slow for walleyes lately for many. The perch on the other hand have seemed to have kept many ice fishermen chasing them this winter. Good fishing still can be found in waters 5 to 7 feet off many of the usual destinations. Give the bait shops a call for recent ice and fishing info.
And always stay safe, fish smart and tight lines.