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Thin ice causing some anglers to adjust

While most recent report finds ice thickness at Clear Lake at 8-11 in., some anglers are changing what to bring out on the ice due to warm weather and more water starting to open up

Posted: Jan 8, 2019 10:34 PM
Updated: Jan 8, 2019 10:48 PM

CLEAR LAKE, Iowa - We've seen this issue a few times this year: ice shacks, trucks and outdoorsmen breaking through thin ice.

The Goodhue County Sheriffs Office has closed motorized vehicle traffic on the ice at lakes cross the county due to warm weather.

And although the most recent report from the Iowa DNR finding ice thickness at Clear Lake around 8-11 in., that has some fishing enthusiasts rethinking how they'll catch their coveted perch and walleye.

Brothers Jerry and Randy Whitehurst love fishing all year, and have been out on the ice looking for a bit.

"We summer fish and we winter fish, and it's not all about catching the fish. It's about being out here."

This time last year, the majority of the lake was frozen over and the ice thicker, and was dotted with trucks and ice houses.

"We have a hard shack together and we had it out here on the ice last winter. No problem with the ice and driving on it."

This year, it's a different story, with the brothers instead using lighter weight gear.

"Our ice shack weighs almost a ton, and we like to see about 14 in. of ice before we even think about bringing it out."

They're sticking to the little lake side on the west side of the lake near Ventura, where the ice is thicker, unlike much of the large part of the lake, where strong winds and aerators are starting to open up more water. Jerry lives in Southern Iowa, where he says the ice fishing has largely been non existent.

"It's the warm periods that we're having right now. Down where I come from, we had no ice on the ponds or anything down there, it's about all open water. Open water doesn't help when you're trying to ice fish. Gotta have a boat."

Kirk Brogie and his friend came up from Omaha to see what's biting. He'd hate to lose expensive gear by heading onto thin ice.

"This stuff isn't cheap, and you gotta work your tail off to get it. But that's just being too eager and the weather's gotta cooperate."

Seasoned outdoor enthusiasts recommend carrying a set of spikes to pull yourself up in the event you break through the ice, as well as going with a friend.

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