Fishermen take to the ice

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 30, 1999

Ice fisherman, anxious to begin the season, could be seen on the Albert Lea Lake channel this week.

Thursday, December 30, 1999

Ice fisherman, anxious to begin the season, could be seen on the Albert Lea Lake channel this week.

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A recent series of cold days resulted in areas of ice suitably hard to support the weight of fisherman, ice houses, snowmobiles and some heavier vehicles.

Freeborn County Sheriff Don Nolander said Monday that each lake, river or stream has its own characteristics that make them unique. Because of those differences, it is not always easy to say what conditions are required for a body of water to be considered safe for fishing, he said.

“I can’t ever give the all clear, because there is always the chance that something will happen,” he said. “A vehicle may fall through a thin spot or someone might lose a snowmobile, you never can tell.”

Fisherman concerned about the thickness of the ice can test the ice at the edges or talk to area fisherman or a warden, Nolander said.

There was little concern among fisherman at the channel Tuesday. Most reported ice between 6-8 inches thick, even beneath the bridge.

The fishing is fairly good, with some fisherman reporting hits from perch, crappies and some walleye and northern.

Rueben Foth of Manchester was out Tuesday afternoon, but hadn’t caught anything yet.

“I got a nibble today, but that’s about it,” Foth said. “I had more luck the other day when I was fishing from the pier.”

Foth estimates that the ice in that area began to become safe around the ninth of December.

Adam Volsen, 12, of Kiester and 14-year-old Chris Kahl of Wells were on the lake channel Tuesday. They were able to catch a number of perch and a walleye in the short time they were there, they said.

Jason Jacobs and Albert Morua were on the lake, spending their vacation time fishing. They were just setting up Tuesday afternoon after borrowing an ice auger from a neighbor on the lake. Chris Rebelein and Mark Hickman set up on the thinner patch of ice beneath the bridge, which they reported was up to 6 inches. They had been there the day before and had caught a number of northern, they said.

“The shadow beneath the bridge makes it easier to catch the bigger fish,” Rebelein said.

Hickman said there is no need to worry about anyone catching more than their limit. He said he and Rebelein were on several area lakes in the past few days and had been checked by the same warden twice.

“I don’t think he remembered us from the last time he checked. He talks to so many people,” Hickman said.

Over a dozen ice shacks were set up on the channel, and many more fisherman were there without shacks. Tracks from some snowmobiles were visible on Albert Lea Lake and other area lakes. Nolander warns that there will always be some open water on some of the lakes.