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Ice On Big Stone Lake Keeps Fisherman Ashore



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Lakes in South Dakota are supposed to be cold in May. But, not so cold that ice is still floating on the surface. But, that's the case for a number of them, including Big Stone Lake.

 

The fishing season started a few weeks ago but some lake side resorts are losing money as fishermen opt to wait for the ice to disappear. While ice fishing helps the local economy plenty in the winter months. May is no time to be dealing with an ice shack or an auger.

 

“We hear the big scientist talk about global warming and we're looking out our yards going, ‘where?’ You know, I've still got a snow bank behind us that are six feet tall,” said Tom Bylander.

 

The owners of Hartford Beach Resort have been staring at ice sheets on the north and eastern end of the lake and that's why they've only put one dock in the water.

 

“I won't put the other 5 docks out and the big one but we'll wait for that sheet of ice,” said Bylander.

 

With the right breeze that ice sheet could do an awful lot of damage.

 

“If it comes it will just destroy those legs and bend the dock in a hurry,” said Bylander.

 

For the first time this year, Tom Bylander saw more than just ice on the water. He saw the first boat on the water this year. And he hopes to have more boats on the water this week. But, even with a fishing season underway, reservations have turned to cancelations.

 

“You know it hurts and it affects our business. We just hope to make up for it later this summer when we have our ‘sunners’ and ‘funners’ that want to come and stay,” said Bylander.

 

To say the ice has over stayed its welcome would be an understatement. The ice, on average, completely melts by April 9th. Last year the ice was gone by March 18th.  

 

“April 26th is the latest we've ever seen,” said Bylander.

 

And that's with over 60 years of records.

 

But, there's not much to do but wait for the folks on Big Stone Lake.

 

“That's Mother Nature,” said Bylander.

 

While the ice may only be spotty and thin, it is still causing headaches nearly a month after it usually melts. 

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