I've had conversations with a number of people in the past week regarding the weather and ice conditions in northern Wisconsin and Minnesota. Sources from Mille Lacs Minnesota and Land O Lakes, Boulder Junction, Sheboygan, Mercer and Spooner, Wisconsin all seem to agree on one thing; this has been one weird spring season.
Ice up north is running about 20 inches thick or more. While some waters that are parts of flowages or in a river system are starting to open up, the big lakes are holding strong.
Snow has blanketed the northern parts of these states and it’s been fantastic for the snowmobilers yet a little tough for the ice anglers. Some lakes have thick ice then a deep layer of slush on the surface.
Will the Wisconsin and Minnesota walleye opening days be under ice this year? Wisconsin’s walleye opener up north is May 4, in Minnesota it’s May 11. For Wisconsin, that’s only a couple weeks away and with 20+ inches of ice in the far north counties, they definitely would need some warm weather and warm rains to cut through the ice and bring open water.
Many lakes up north are low. Over the past several years drought conditions lowered lake levels. Docks had to be extended or moved out and some channels between lakes became impassable. Many are saying now that the abundance of snow (and rain that we’re getting recently) will really help with the lake levels. In some cases, it may bring lakes to normal pool levels.
Last year spring was early. This year it’s coming late. Mother Nature has changed things around for us anglers again this year. Only time will tell how this all plays out.