Nature Matters: Ice threatens WI fishing opener again

By KBJR News 1

April 28, 2014 Updated Apr 28, 2014 at 7:45 PM CDT

Solon Springs, WI (NNCNOW.com)----Wisconsin's fishing opener will hit early Saturday morning.

That leaves four days for the lakes to shed their winter coat of ice.

This bird of prey is patiently waiting for the ice to leave Upper Saint Croix Lake in Solon Springs.

Many human anglers are hoping for the same thing because Wisconsin's fishing opener hits this weekend.

"It's up in the air. If we get a lot of rain this week, maybe it'll go out. Everybody is biting at the bit to get on the lake again." said Ken Thoreson of Solon Springs Mercantile.

Just like last year, lingering cold temperatures and ice are hampering plans to get back on the lakes.

Bright spots of open water are few, small and far between.

"I know certain parts of the Croix are loosening up but for the most part, most of the lake is still frozen over." said Tyler Nugent of the Mercantile.

That's an ominous sign for a business like Solon Springs Mercantile which earns 50 percent of its income through sporting goods.

The store's owner says missing a weekend of fishing means missing out on profit.

"You don't get those weekends back. People don't fish twice in a weekend so when you lose one, you lose one." said Thoreson.

The same holds true for the Saint Croix Inn right next to the lake.

"There are people calling, hoping the ice is out, but I'm not sure if it will be." said Jessica Ramel of the Inn.

Right now, maybe ten percent of Upper Saint Croix Lake is open near the shore.

Hope springs eternal, though, among anglers even when spring refuses to come.

Ken Thoreson of the Mercantile is hoping for the best come Saturday morning.

"Let's hope for 75 to 80 percent and see if we can't get people out on the lake." said Thoreson.

Michigan's fishing opener was this past weekend.

Minnesota's comes a week after Wisconsin's.