DES MOINES, Iowa -- Until last weekend, it has been a warm winter and many Iowans have appreciated it. The unseasonably high temperatures have prevented many, however, from enjoying a winter staple, ice fishing.
“I can’t remember it being this warm during my time with department,” says Chris Clingan, Park Ranger with Polk County. “The last time I remember there being open water in January, it was ‘97 or ‘98.”
Clingan said that Sunday was the first day he saw people out and fishing at Easter Lake but he cautions anglers to take it slow.
“You want there to be at least four inches of ice, maybe even six inches.” says Clingan. “You never know until you check. It could be six inches in one spot then just a few feet away it could be two inches.”
This is probably the first week many will make their way out to fish and one man is beyond excited.
“It’s cold and the lakes are freezing, that means we can fish,” said Chance Patrick, of Iowa’s Great Outdoors.
Patrick started Iowa’s Great Outdoors a year about and his goal was simple, let’s get more people outside.
“I set out on a mission to show kids and adults that we need to get back outdoors,” says Patrick. “Let’s use Iowa's natural resources and see this beautiful thing that is free to use for everyone. I love to see people back outdoors having the same fun I have. I am able to share new ideas of what there is to do.”
He says the program went well last season but he hopes it’s even bigger this year.
“As many as we can,” says Patrick. “We will and try to help anyone that contacts in some way. Last year along with very few dollars we put over 30 new fishing poles and tackle in the hands of kids.”
If you would like to get involved with the program you can contact Patrick at his email.
Before we let Patrick go we asked him for some ice fishing tips.
Things To Do Before You Head Out
- Always make sure all your gear is ready double check
- Make sure you are dressed for the weather
- Make sure ice conditions are safe
- Check what the temperature have been in the last week
- Make sure the bay of water you are fishing allows ice fishing
- Make a plan and stick to your plan always tell someone where you will be
Chance Patrick's Favorite Fishing Spots
- Easter Lake
- Roberts Creek
- Farm pond