LAKE MINNETONKA, Minn. - Anglers, boaters and business are increasingly anxious with a true spring season still at bay.
Ice still covers much of Lake Minnetonka, leaving marinas shuttered, boats in storage and fisherman wondering about the season opener.
This weekend, Roy Peterson of Mound was supposed to host his second annual Lions Lake Minnetonka Crappie contest. He postponed the charity fishing event for next Saturday, but from the looks of the forecast, still can't catch a break.
"If there is still ice on the lake, it appears we are going to just do the festivities without the fishing, with an indoor event," said Peterson.
Al and Alma's Supper Club and Charter Cruises has only one of its six boats in the water, but General Manager Jay Soule says even though the weather is a setback, Al and Alma's will still host a wedding this weekend, with the focus dockside.
"When the season starts to change, when we have one of those nice 70 degree spring days, people think about being on the water and the phone starts ringing," said Soule. "We have to take good with bad weather, it will change and we will be ready when it does."
According to the Freshwater Society, last year the ice melted on Lake Minnetonka March 21st . As of last Thursday, the Hennepin County Water Patrol still found 20 inches of ice in the middle of the lake.
That risk is why Peterson moved his Crappie Contest indoors to the Bayview Events Center, on Saturday April 27st from 11am-1pm.
"Even with the rain, it's encouraging but it's a false hope. There is going to be ice this weekend, we will be lucky to get this ice off in the next two weeks. I'm starting to worry about opener now up north that is going to be hard on the resorts up there. A lot of businesses around that are really hurting," said Peterson.
The Freshwater Society says the latest season ice-out on Lake Minnetonka dates back to 1856, when the ice finally melted May 8th.
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