From Toledo Blade

Discussion in 'Hard Water Discussions' started by roger23, Jan 25, 2008.

  1. Article published Friday, January 25, 2008
    Beware - only a few spots safe for ice fishing

    Lake La Su An, Wamplers Lake and Devils Lake, Mitchell's Bay - these are among the places in the region you should be thinking about if you just have to go ice fishing right now, and many fishermen just have to.

    As for most other potential ice fishing venues, beware. For in many cases things may not be what they seem in this topsy-turvy winter. And as for the Big One - western Lake Erie's South Bass Island region - forget it until February, if at all.

    That is the quick and dirty about ice fishing hereabouts. For the rest of the story, read on:

    The state's popular Lake La Su An chain of lakes in Williams County opened for the winter season on Thursday, with Thursdays and Sundays set for fishing days and 9 a.m. to noon Mondays and Thursdays as times to make reservations.

    The La Su An lakes currently have four to five inches of good ice on them, the check station reports. Whether the ice keeps depends on how much rain comes with a warming spell forecast early next week.

    The La Su An check station number is 419-636-6189, and yes, the reservations-only lakes already are full for Sunday. A few walk-on slots are available on Lake An, but in any case you must stop and register at the area check-station on County Road R, west of Pioneer.

    Elsewhere across inland northwest Ohio, the ice is dicey, with the wind playing havoc with good ice forming on open waters. Good ice, by the way, is a reference to new, blast-frozen ice formed by frigid temperatures; it is clear to blue and mostly free of bubbles and soft spots and has not been weakened by freeze-thaw cycles or currents. At least four inches of such ice is considered a minimum for foot traffic.

    Mike Wilkerson, a fisheries biologist at Ohio Wildlife District 2 at Findlay, said a check of ice at the popular Findlay reservoirs yesterday showed them to be unreliable. That is a good indication of conditions at other municipal upground reservoirs.

    Wamplers and Devils lakes, among some of the bigger, more famous lakes in southeast Michigan's Irish Hills, also are back in the ice fishing business.

    "We're good on ice," said Tom Knutson at Knutson's Recreational Sales in Brooklyn, Mich. He expects ice to be around seven inches thick by Sunday. "It is very, very hard, very very clear ice."

    As a result Knutson is going ahead with its Midwest Ice Fishing Tournament at Wamplers on Sunday. He even has made the call to allow use of four-wheelers and snowmobiles.

    The event - initiated by the store after the Ice Team Trap Attack circuit went under - will be a qualifier for the North American Ice Fishing Championship, with the top 15 finishers at Wamplers invited.

    The Midwest has room for up to 150 two-person teams, though Knutson said the necessity to reschedule from poor conditions two weeks ago has kept the field so far at about 100 teams.

    Prospective participants not yet signed up should know a rules meeting is set for 7 p.m. tomorrow, with final registration beginning at 6 p.m., at Columbia Central High School auditorium off M-50 at Brooklyn.

    The tournament itself will be run from the launch ramp at Hayes State Park on Wamplers Lake, with launch at 7:30 a.m., ending at 1 p.m. for weigh-ins. Entry categories are for the top eight bluegills and the top eight crappies, with a $15,000-plus purse - based on a full field. Weigh-in is set for Columbia Middle School.

    For other details call Knutson's at 517-592-2786 or register on-line at

    Elsewhere around the Irish Hills lakes, Knutson said, "It's really spotty. You've got to be careful.

    "Anything that has an inlet and an outlet and small size, they just froze." Ice on the smaller waters thus is unsafe. Knutson said such a circumstance is counterintuitive, but that is the way the weather is working it out this winter. He added that most of the bigger lakes' ice seems to be OK.

    The Michigan Department of Natural Resources said at midweek that while ice is building in the southern sections of the Lower Peninsula, most lakes still are unsafe, including the state's portion of western Lake Erie and Saginaw Bay. Saginaw, however, may see a resumption of fishing in a few days, close to shore at least, if weather cooperates.

    As for Ohio's South Bass Island area in western Lake Erie, forget it until at least a week or so.

    "It looks like a minefield," said ice guide John Hageman, who surveyed the ice around the Bass Islands by air at midweek.

    He said about 50 percent of the slot between Catawba Point on the mainland and South Bass showed open water, with open water also west of the islands and off South Bass lighthouse and off Green Island.

    "Even the area we fish [immediately west of South Bass] is only 80 percent thin ice and 20 percent open water."

    Hageman is not expecting to fish sooner than Feb. 1 or 2, "and that's only if the weather-guessers are wrong and it doesn't get warm."

    The problem with the recent single-digits cold spell, the guide said, was that it came with 30 mph winds. "At that wind speed the lake just won't freeze."

    The Ohio Division of Wildlife's Lake Erie Fish Research Station at Sandusky reported that boat fishing likely is over until spring. "If temperatures stay low as predicted ice fishing could begin at some point in the next month," the office stated. The open-water lake temperature is 33 degrees.

    All of which leaves one more option in the region - Mitchell's Bay on the Ontario side of Lake St. Clair, and there the news is upbeat.

    Cathy Shaw at Bass Haven on the bay said that ice is running about six inches thick and panfishing got under way Wednesday, with yellow perch fishing just starting up. "Everything is a go," she added.

    Bass Haven can be called at 519-354-4242, or visit on-line at


    Annual eagle watches - Volunteers interested in monitoring bald eagle nests are invited to an information and training session Sunday, 1 to 3 p.m. at the Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge visitor center, 1400 West State Rt. 2, Oak Harbor.

    Changes in reporting and monitoring procedures make attendance at this or later sessions essential, said Mark Shieldcastle, the state's leading eagle biologist. An eastern Ohio session is set for Tuesday, 2 to 4 p.m., at Big Creek Metropark in Geauga County. The final western Ohio session is set for Feb. 2, 1 to 3 p.m., at Killdeer Plains State Wildlife Area in Wyandot County.

    For details call Andrea Tibbels at Crane Creek Wildlife Research Station, 419-898-0960, extension 25.

  2. It’s quite disheartening…. But if the article was published today, it was written at least 2-3 days ago. The temps have been quite low lately to help produce more ice. Keep the faith… the temps may spike a little next week, but they’re back to the norm soon after. :D

  3. I hate to be a jerk but the fishing reports in the Blade are about as reliable as a dowsing rod.
  4. KaGee

    KaGee Monkeywrench Staff Member

    Ain't that the truth!

    However, I took a look at the Tol #2 web cam yesterday and there was plenty of open water out in the lake.
  5. That might be a little harsh, but mostly accurate. I am sad to say I was involved in one of the Blades fishing "stories" with out my knowledge.

    Ice should be a pain to drill if we can avoid rain. I have never done the Erie thing, but I would imagine a reliable guide is a necessity until the ice gets real thick and maybe even then.