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Ice Fishing Off To Early Start

December 17, 2013, 6:00 PM by Erich Schaffhauser

Ice Fishing Off To Early Start
WEBSTER, SD -

Our cold finish to fall has given ice fishing a jump start in the state.

Ice shacks and pickups dot the landscape in Day County.  Frank Meyer drove from Nebraska to join. This is earlier than he usually starts ice fishing.

"Normally around the first of January, depending on the year, but this is an unusual year so everybody's early," Meyer said.

The cold temperatures had some people ice fishing around Thanksgiving in Day County.

Doug Johnson owns Sportsman’s Cove in Webster. He's thankful for the early ice this year in particular.

"On a normal year, we'd have more pheasant hunters in November and December," Johnson said. "This year, pheasant numbers being what they were, we definitely saw a decrease in that activity. But the ice fishing has really helped."

Johnson also rents out cabins, which are filling with fishermen earlier than usual. They're telling him most ice in the area is at least a foot thick already.

"You know, I think we're going to have an expanded season by at least two, three weeks," Johnson said.

That could mean more people stopping in and spending money. Meyer says he spends money on fishing supplies and food when he takes ice fishing trips.

"We have friends that come up every year and they love it. We just couldn't take it any longer; we had to try it," Meyer said.

A foot or so of ice in Day County has been inviting them, too.

Farther to the west, anglers around Mobridge are also out on the ice. We spoke with one who said people have been ice fishing on Lake Oahe since the beginning of the month.

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