As good as winter started out a month ago, I never thought we would have had to worry about making a decision on weather we would have the contest or not.
It's with great disappointment that I am writing this email canceling the walleye challenge. Especially since we have 10 to 12 inches of ice which is plenty thick enough.
The problem isn't the thickness of the ice this year, it is its instability. The water froze good and early this year, but the water level was very low, and with the recent thaw and rain, it raised the water level. This in turn shifted and fractured the ice, which caused ridges and splits to form all across the ice. In a lot of areas where we have never seen them form before. We found a lot of ice breaks to be running parallel to each other 50 to 100 feet apart which I have personally never seen before.
The trouble is these areas are impassable by 4 wheeler or side by side's (which some people have found out the hard way) recently. Snowmobiles do have the ability to skip across them, but about 90% of ice fisherman don't use snowmobile's they use 4 wheelers or side by sides. So essentially these fractures in the ice have quarantined fisherman to different areas of the lake.
But because of the nature of the walleye challenge and so many people coming from out of the area not familiar with our lake. You have to be able to go from one side of the lake to the other and from any end of the lake to any weigh station as soon you catch a fish. In my opinion you can not safely do this at this time especially with above freezing weather and more rain in the forecast this week.
These areas are only going to become worse and not refreeze in the upcoming week this is why we have decided to cancel the walleye challenge.
With that being said, this spring we will be discussing moving the date a couple weeks later to maybe insure better ice since we have had to cancel 2 years in a row and I do not want to again.
Everything will be given away by random draw at Lanzi's on the Lake starting at noon on January 28th.