Park Rapids Area DNR Fisheries staff conducted their annual aerial fish house count on Jan. 6.

According to Area Fisheries Assistant Supervisor Calub Shavlik, “We flew over 71 lakes, and the total number of fish houses for 2020 was 140. This count was considerably lower than the previous low of 385 in 2016. Of the 71 lakes, 33 of them had zero houses at the time of the fish house count. This low number of fish houses was not a surprise given the ice conditions this winter. Anglers have been experiencing deep snow and slush on top of variable ice thicknesses in the Park Rapids area.”

Additional information about ice safety can be found on the DNR website at www.dnr.state.mn.us/safety/ice/thickness.html.

“The majority of lakes had a lower-than-normal number of fish houses, and this year was the historical low for some lakes,” Shavlik said. “They include some of the historically popular lakes such as Fish Hook, Potato, Garfield, Lower Twin, Straight, and Long.”

Some of the smaller lakes usually have low counts, so they were unchanged, Shavlik said.

Lakes with only one fish house on them, with their average number of houses in parentheses, were as follows: Upper Bottle (6.5), Big Bass (1.3), Lower Bottle (8.9), Big Stony (5.2), Boulder (6.3), Upper Twin (11.4), Little Blueberry (2.6), Palmer (1.4), Lord (1.5), 4th Crow Wing (6.5), 10th Crow Wing (15), Stocking (in Hubbard County, .4) and Middle Crooked (1.2).