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Ice for the fishing opener?

Fish Hook Lake, one month before the Governor's Fishing Opener, had 32 inches of ice.

By Jason Durham / For the Enterprise

By jason durham


It’s no surprise that the topic of “ice” has recently come up in conversation around the Park Rapids region.

The community is hosting the 2013 Governor’s Fishing Opener in less than one month and ice anglers are still easily accessing the lakes atop a sheet of ice. Not merely inches of ice, more like feet of ice. Some think it will be a feat if the ice has melted by the opening day of the walleye season on May 11.

Fish Hook Lake covers 1,642 acres and reaches a maximum depth of 76 feet. On an average year, the ice departs in the latter portion of April. This year, however, may be different.

But Fish Hook Lake has some favorable characteristics that play favor to eradicating its icy scab.

First, Fish Hook has rivers on the north, south and west sides with some moderate current. These areas form a good beginning as open water gradually carves its way through the ice with even moderate warming.

Second, excluding the rivers, Fish Hook is a wide, open body of water. Once the ice begins to pull away from the shorelines, a few windy days can quickly pile up the ice.

Yet despite those positive attributes, some people still doubt the ice will melt before the opener.

Insight is being sought from anyone willing to offer ideas, even if they seem absurd, of how to artificially remove the ice.

For instance, Carol Altepeter from Explore Minnesota Tourism jokingly suggests a hoard of hairdryers. Yet electricity and melting ice aren’t a good mix.

One person suggested having everyone in the world stand on one side of the earth so Park Rapids would tilt toward a better angle of the sun’s rays.

A community member wishing to remain unidentified suggested dynamite, but Park Rapids Area Fisheries Supervisor Doug Kingsley commented that this wouldn’t be a good idea “for the sake of the fish.”

However, Kingsley is obviously working on a larger plan.

”I think we need to bring Babe (the Blue Ox) out of retirement, hitch him to the Fish Hook Lake ice sheet and have him drag it further south, maybe to White Bear Lake to help raise their water levels when it eventually melts,” he said.

Doug’s wife Julie thinks that a community marshmallow roast on Fish Hook Lake would be a good start. If not, she proposes massive ice holes cut for each boat and helicopters could drop the watercraft into their personal “hot-spot.”

Dave Cobb, who has vacationed in the area, thought sharks with laser beams would help. But since Fish Hook Lake is freshwater, the effectiveness would literally be short lived.

A plow-driver frustrated with winter thought that truckloads of salt leftover from treating the highways this winter would quickly melt the ice on Fish Hook Lake. Though a great idea in theory, that would unfortunately turn the freshwater into saltwater. That’s it! Road salt AND sharks with laser beams!

Bring it on Mother Nature; Park Rapids has a back-up plan!