Warm Weather Cooling off Ice Fishing Season

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DES MOINES, Iowa — While the warm weather might be nice for some Iowans, most of the state’s ice fisherman would say things have been less than ideal.

“Places near Des Moines like Badger Creek or Beaver Lake where we had seen some early ice fishing, that’s pretty much been ruined because of the warm weather” said DNR Spokesman Mick Klemesrud.

The Iowa DNR says if fisherman are still feeling the need to get out on the ice they need to travel.

“You need to go further north and find some of our natural shallow lakes like Clear Lake and Spirit Lake, East Okoboji…with this freeze thaw cycle we’ve been in that does weaken existing ice to the point where if you don’t have much snow cover to buffer the heat you’re going to lose the strength and the quality of the ice” said Klemesrud.

The weather has been a bit of a pain for shops in the metro like Johnston Bait and Tackle; less ice means less customers.

“There’s definitely guys on the weekend still going up but it’s always busier if we have some decent ice around here. You know, it’s easy after work or on the weekend to take the kids and hop on the pond or something” said employee Gus Beebe.

Beebe says they’re hoping a cold snap in January will get things back on track for their business, and for when they get to close up shop and fish themselves.

“I had some big plans for Big Creek this year. I know there’s some big channel cats, big walleye, it’s been a really good walleye year up there already, so I’m looking forward to continuing that through the ice” he said.

If you do venture out on the ice, the DNR says you need at least four inches of new clear ice, and five to six if you’re bringing a snowmobile. Johnston Bait and Tackle says make sure you have the right gear.

“Spud bars are always crucial, spikes, have a buddy. No fish is worth your life, you know?” said Beebe.

Fisherman can check out https://www.iowadnr.gov/Fishing/Fish-Local to find ponds stocked by the DNR.