ICE Finally Arrives in Central Iowa
The sound of augers grinding through ice as far south as Hwy. 92 was sweet music to the ears of anglers. Winter weather had finally arrived in central Iowa covering most lakes with 4 to 6 inches of ice as of Sunday.
“There were a lot of people on Big Creek over the weekend,” said Ben Dodd, fisheries biologist with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. “I’ve heard reports of bluegills, crappies and some walleyes and a few perch at Big Creek; bluegills and crappies at Hickory Grove, and the same at Beaver Lake. I know a lot of people wanted to get out fishing around here and thanks to last week’s cold snap, we finally can.”
Unfortunately, the late arriving ice had to battle against an unfamiliar mid winter foe – rain. The Sunday mist turned into rain at night that likely weakened the ice in some locations.
“I would tell people to be careful out there, especially around shore where the runoff could weaken the ice. Rain and runoff will find a way through the ice so use common sense and check the ice regularly,” Dodd said.
Ice thickness varies across each body of water and there is a certain level of risk involved with any outdoor activity, including ice fishing. In general, the minimum thickness for ice fishing is four inches of new, clear ice. For a snowmobile or an ATV, new, clear ice should be at least five inches thick.