Stay Safe in Your Last Month of Ice Fishing
Ah, Minnesota ice fishing.
The best thing about ice fishing in Minnesota is that winters are long. So while walleye fishing on Leech Lake may have ended in February, you have a few more weeks to catch some perch!
But after this winter brought high winds and wind chills well below zero, temperatures then began hovering at 40 degrees… above zero.
As spring gets closer, we simply can’t say what the weather will do as anglers fishing on Leech Lake try to get out for one more ice fishing trip.
This winter already came with stories about anglers, and even some Minnesota anglers, being stranded on drifting ice, forced to be rescued. So as we prepare for thawing ice after such an unpredictable winter in Minnesota, we want to give our loyal anglers some tips. That way you can stay safe and keep enjoying fishing in Minnesota!
- The fresher the ice, the better
You may have just more than a few inches of fresh ice which will support you on foot, while more than a foot of partially thawed ice may not. The reason, of course, is just that — with exposure to the sun and the elements, old ice may have partially thawed.
- Be mindful of the recent temperatures and that day’s wind
It may feel like a perfect Minnesota weekend to sit on the ice, auger a hole and fish for perch. But before going onto the ice, recheck it for thickness given the recent warmth.
Additionally, if you can see any open water, it’s best to skip your ice fishing trip until temperatures drop again. A shift in wind direction may bring open water waves, and that may lead to ice breaking off, leaving you stranded in the middle of the lake.
- Always come prepared
We’ve shared tips like bringing a life jacket and ice picks to help you in the worst-case scenario. But you also want to bring a fully charged cellphone and an external battery or charger pack. Cold temperatures can drain your battery. So can taking all those pictures of your latest Leech Lake catch!
- Always tell someone exactly where you’re headed to go ice fishing. Also pack warm clothing for any change of weather or emergency. If you find yourself on your trip to Leech Lake a bit unprepared, check out shopping in Walker options for all your needs!
- If you’re not staying in your ice fishing house, leave the ice before dark.
Whether you’re taking a trip to Leech Lake for the first time or you’re a Minnesota native, you can still get turned around when darkness falls, and getting off the ice may become treacherous.
That’s why it’s best to either stay in a trusted ice house, or one of our various lodging properties around Leech Lake!
And don’t forget! As of March 1, fish houses may still be on the ice of Minnesota lakes. However, they must be occupied if they’re on the ice between midnight and one hour before sunrise.
As we turn a corner in our long Minnesota winter, we wish you safe ice fishing trips and the best catch! We just ask you to stay safe so that your Leech Lake ice fishing trip is memorable for the enjoyable reasons. Looking for more tips? The state of Minnesota has some other ice fishing safety tips here!