Wisconsin facing frozen fishing opener

5:48 AM, May 3, 2013   |    comments
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BALSAM LAKE, Wis. - It will be the fishing opener that's frozen shut. Lakes in the northern third of Wisconsin remain ice-covered and Thursday's snowfall is a late-Spring punch to the gut.

"My son was supposed to come up, but he's cancelled the trip," said John Boniface from Cottage Grove. "I think a lot of people are changing their plans."

On Balsam Lake, an hour from the Twin Cities, 12 to 18 inches of ice cover the lake. It's a sad realization for surrounding business relying on fishing tourism.

"I've been here at this resort for 60 years and never seen anything like this," says Ron Ward, owner of Ward's Resort. "We've had full cancellations for this weekend."

Ward says area grocery stores and bait shops will all feel the effect of an opening weekend without any anglers.

"We will hope for a beautiful summer," says Ward. "But this is a shame."

Wisconsin DNR officials say they considered having Governor Scott Walker ice fish, but late Friday decided they will find open water on Lake Namekagon in Bayfield County.

"It's the fishing opener that never was," says Boniface. "We will just wait it out a couple weeks."

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