No Ice? Bad for Ice Tournaments, but good for Fishermen?
By: Chase Eberly, myfishingpartner.com
Typically by now we would be ice fishing all over the State of Wisconsin and most of the Mid-west. This year proves to be different however.
It was predicted that this winter was going to be an El-Nino year across the Midwest, but I think it’s safe to say most of us didn’t think it would be this warm. I am going to guess that many people may not winterize their boats this year and we should be able to fish open water all year long either in Green Bay or Milwaukee.
I recall mild winters in the past where I have had the boat in the water out of Metro in De pere as early as Feb 3rd. This year is warmer and we are already nearing the end of December. The problem is the fishing has been slow for most anglers in the area on the bay and in the rivers.
What does this weather mean?
Fishing might tend to be tough in 2016. Plain and simple there are a ton of Shad and bait fish in the Green Bay system right now because of the warm temperature the bait fish aren’t dying like a typical year. Walleyes are tough to find because they are filling up on Shad. As bad as that sounds an argument could be made that might be a good thing…
I believe it is a good thing because the walleyes this year are going to have a very healthy diet as they go to spawn. This means the 2016 year class could be very good! The fish are staying very healthy compared to other hard winters. Also as these fish are filling up it is safe to say there should be some big fish caught in 2016 even if it is slow.
Well…there are a few major issues that should be considered through this “Winter” season. First off the economic impact. This time of year is usually a critical time for some of the small bait shops. They depend on selling bait and ice gear in order to stay in business. It is important to the economy to take care of these businesses during this difficult time.
Speaking of economic impact, many questions arise about all the ice fishing tournaments. It might be a little early to start writing them off, but let’s do the math…If we get a month straight with the temperature as a high of 25 degrees with optimum ice making conditions including light wind, low sunlight, and cold nights, according to Greg Ashtons Ice Theory from 1989, it will take 30 days to make 11 inches of ice…That is still not safe enough to drive an car or truck on…Battle on Bago is scheduled for Feb 26th and 27th. Party on Poygan however is typically scheduled for the end of January.
As 2015 comes to a close I still have not pulled out the ice gear, and to be honest it is going to be tough to get it out this year. My advice is enjoy the open water fishing year around. Fish will eventually start biting in De pere when the water clarity clears up, and there are still reports of people catching fish in the Wolf River. Enjoy it this year because it maybe a while before we see it again. It seems even on good years people go through the ice and to be honest it isn’t worth the risk unless it gets cold FAST!