Game, Fish and Parks Director Jamie Pekelder is putting this one in the books. The ice was officially out on Big Stone Lake on... Ice Officially Out on Big Stone Lake

Game, Fish and Parks Director Jamie Pekelder is putting this one in the books. The ice was officially out on Big Stone Lake on April 1. “There is not an exact science to determining the official date when the ice goes out,” he says. “But I kind of go by what Arlo Haase used when he was the GFP director. If he could boat from the north end to the south end, then it is officially out.”

Pekelder says that was possible on Saturday, April 1. “I ran the whole lake on Saturday. There were floating ice patches or ice cube-type chunks, but I could have boated across the lake.” Pekelder said the Minnesota DNR declared Monday, April 3, as their official ice-out date.

Records of the ice-out date have been kept by the GFP department since 1951. In 1951, the ice-out date was April 26. Haase joined the GFP in 1970 and tracked the ice out date until Pekelder took over in 2011. “It’s been done for a long time, so it’s neat to keep it going,” Pekelder says.

The earliest ice-out date recorded was March 16. That occurred in 2016. Before then, the earliest date was March 18 – in both 1987 and 2012. The latest date was in 2013 – on May 8. Pekelder says, “Anglers were still ice fishing during the Border Water Season Opener that year.”

April 1 is the most popular date for the ice to go out. It has been recorded six times including this year, however, the average date is April 8.

Those who live on the lake and see the ice and water change daily can attest to the looks and sounds that go with the process. Pekelder says. “The sounds may be chunks of ice running into each other and breaking apart or the ice breaking up rocks, trees, and other things along the shoreline. Otherwise the ice just sinks, so there is little noise from that.”

With the ice out, anglers look forward to the Border Water Opener on Big Stone Lake on Saturday, April 22. Pekelder reminds anglers the aquatic invasive species rules are new within the last few years. The requirements include:
• Boat drain plugs must be opened or removed except when on the water, launching or loading, or in the boat ramp parking area.
• Bait and fish may not be transported away from the boat ramp parking area in water from a lake, river, or stream.
• Red Swamp Crayfish are listed as an aquatic invasive species in South Dakota.

Ice Out Dates for the last ten years:                                                                                                                                                                           April 20, 2008                                                                                                                                                                                                                   April 15, 2009                                                                                                                                                                                                                   April 2, 2010                                                                                                                                                                                                                     April 15, 2011                                                                                                                                                                                                                     March 18, 2012                                                                                                                                                                                                                 May 8, 2013                                                                                                                                                                                                                       April 19, 2014                                                                                                                                                                                                                   April 1, 2015                                                                                                                                                                                                                       March 16, 2016                                                                                                                                                                                                                 April 1, 2017



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