The recent arctic blast has had a major impact on the Great Lakes ice cover. We are approaching record-breaking coverage this year; nearly 15% ahead of last year at the same date. We are gaining ice cover rapidly because of the prolonged cold weather and the lack of snow cover. Last week, just overnight on Friday, we gained an estimated 4,750 sq. miles of ice. It is estimated that we could see complete ice coverage of the Great Lakes for the first time since records have been kept.

So what does that mean? To most people it means a cooler spring and summer, similar to last summer, and cooler lake temperatures at the beaches. For people who fish it will mean cooler water inshore for a longer season on most of the fish species. Perch, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, brown trout and even a few salmon will stay close a few weeks longer. Everyone will also gain some additional water depth in the Great Lakes due to the lack of evaporation and the spring melt off. We gained a few inches last year and should gain more this year.

The fishing reports this week are all over the board. Reports from the big lake indicate good catches of brown trout in Montrose Harbor. The bluegill and crappie are happening through the ice on Crystal Lake. Lake Delavan is reporting small bluegills being caught in 10 to 12 feet of water. The reports from Lake Geneva have not been good, and it has been really slow at most reporting areas. Busse Lake, on the other hand, has been producing some really fine catches of largemouth bass from the Main Pool.

We just need to be patient for spring to get here, and it will get here sooner rather than later, we hope. We are working on a restocking program for our favorite local fishing spot, Lovelace Park, and we could use some financial help to get the fish we need. If you can help in some way just send me an email and we will provide you with information on where to send a donation. Until next time…keep a tight line.

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