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Minimal snowfall helping area northern pike

Published 5:18pm Saturday, January 26, 2013

Ice fisherman may be finding some more northern pike this winter, despite mass die-offs last summer in southern Minnesota.

The lack of snow cover this winter has allowed sunlight to penetrate ice, caused aquatic plants to grow and helped bolster dissolved oxygen levels, according to Waterville Area Fisheries Supervisor T.J. DeBates. Furthermore, 148,820 northern pike were stocked into the Fountain Lake Watershed in 2012. Albert Lea Lake will receive walleye fry in 2013, as well.

“I think ice fishing has been pretty solid this year in south-central Minnesota,” he added.

Fisherman have been catching northerns on Geneva Lake and doing well near Faribault, as well. While ice fishing has been rather slow on Albert Lea and Fountain lakes, Mike Conley, owner of The Dam Bait Shop in Albert Lea, said people started catching a few more northerns last weekend.

However, not as many people are ice fishing this year, especially during the week.

“It’s been really quiet this week,” Conley added.

DeBates said southern Minnesota will need some late-season snowfalls and early spring and summer rains to help bring lake levels back to where they were.

“On average, the lakes are about a foot to a foot and a half low,” DeBates said.

But if 2013’s summer is similar to 2012’s, with extreme heats, expect more die-offs, he added.

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