As we go into February, it is amazing just how little ice we really have. Wherever I have ice fished on West Okoboji, the most ice that I have found has been 15 inches max. Not much for this time of year. I am really excited about the potential for great perch fishing this summer on both East and West Okoboji. Both lakes have huge populations, and it appears that there is more than one year class involved. This winter has been sorting through a lot of 6-7 inchers to be able to bring home some 8-9 and even some 10-11 inch perch. So, I am hoping that we will have a great run next summer!
Which brings us to the question: will the ice go out early this year? According to the Water Safety Council website, the average iceout date for East Okoboji is March 31, with April 4 on Big Spirit and April 5 on West Okoboji. Earliest recorded dates are March 3 for East Okoboji, March 6 for Big Spirit and March 7 for West Okoboji.
Are we setting up for another early one? I am certain that the biologists at the Spirit Lake Hatchery are not looking for an early iceout. When that happens, it often means a tough spring for collecting walleye eggs. Even though the ice goes out early, the temperatures usually go on a yo-yo, bouncing up and down, which causes the water temperatures to also yo-yo. This type of yo-yo can also have an impact on our panfish, too. So, I hope if the ice goes out early, then the spring temperatures are more on the consistently mild side - with some nice April showers and spring rains, too!
Until next time,