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January 07, 2013 05:30 AM

'Normal' Winter Temps Help Ice Fishing Thrive

Harrisburg, sd

Around this time last year it was a lot warmer; some people were even sporting shorts and a t-shirt. But this year, that good old South Dakota weather is back and people who look forward to hitting the ice welcome it.

Sioux Falls set a record high on January 5 last year when the thermometer hit a whopping 62 degrees, which didn't give ice fisherman much of a chance to get out.
   
But this year, things are much different.

"It was a pretty short season last year," Sioux Falls resident Roger Nikolas said.

With temperatures hovering in the 60s one year ago, fishing from a boat might have been easier than on ice.

"You know down south here, I would say there was maybe a ten-day period in December where guys were fishing quite a bit and then it was pretty much done," Roger said.

Roger Nikolas, his brother Paul and their children set out to put some holes in the ice covering Lake Alvin this weekend. It's something Paul says wouldn't have happened last year.

"I don't think last year there was much ice at all, maybe an inch or two, nothing where you felt safe, especially with the little kids. But I don't think we would have even tried it last year," Paul said.

Paul says there’s around six or seven inches now.

"We thought there would maybe be a little bit more.  Six inches is safe where you can comfortably walk on it," Paul said.

Roger says the farther north you go, the better it gets.

"It froze up, I think, the first week of December there were people fishing up north and little before that. It’s been good ice since up there. I was up fishing the week before Christmas and there was guys driving on the ice; we didn't," Roger said.

They have good ice.  The kids are having fun.  Now all they need is what they came here for.

“Just gotta catch some fish," Roger said.

If you're wondering what ice conditions are around you, it's usually best to give your local bait shop a call and ask them before heading out.

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