Lakes cleared, but late ice-out has created headaches at some public accesses
Mid-week the ice has left most lakes in the Park Rapids area due to warm temperatures and a breeze that has pushed remaining ice to bays and shores.
But the late ice-out has created another problem. Wednesday, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) reported Trails and Waterways crews are working feverishly to prepare nearly 2,000 DNR public water accesses for Saturday's fishing opener.
However, due to excessive winter ice damage and the late ice out in the northern half of the state, it is unlikely they will fully meet their goal.
"Ice is causing some major problems in the north," said Tim Browning, DNR Northwest Region trails and waterways manager. "Hundreds of concrete boat ramps have been buckled from ice movement over the winter and repairs are being hampered by the late ice out.
"Our crews are working overtime to get as much done as fast as we safely can," Browning said.
The late ice-out is also delaying dock installation. According to Browning, installing the docks before the ice disappears is not an option on most lakes, as strong winds could blow the ice toward shore and damage the docks.
The DNR urges anglers to use caution at access sites this fishing opener. Boaters should be aware that the condition of access ramps could differ above and below the water line. Boaters should inspect the entire ramp before launching a boat.
For more information about Minnesota's water accesses or the Minnesota fishing opener, visit www.mndnr.gov.