Lake Metonga ice-covered ahead of sport fishing opener

Ice covers boat landing at Veteran's Memorial Park on Lake Metonga, May 2, 2018 (WLUK/Eric Peterson)

FOREST COUNTY (WLUK) -- Opening Day for the inland sport fishing season is this weekend, and many are getting ready to head out onto the water.

But on many of the bigger lakes in the Northwoods, that water is still frozen, leaving plans up in the air and forcing some business owners to wait.

On a wet Wednesday off the shoreline of Lake Metonga, clouds seemed to hover just above the surface.

"This morning I woke up, and it was fog all the way across the lake, just like you see it now. And I thought what am I seeing?" asked Gary Mueller, Town of Lincoln.

Mueller says he was seeing almost six months of ice finally fading away.

"Very popular place. Up until about a week and a half ago, we were still ice fishing. But now, we are waiting for things to melt, so that we can proceed with our summer activities. It's spring," he said.

Mueller says at 2100 acres, Lake Metonga is one of the last lakes to open up, typically around the last week in April, first part of May.

"I always have a bet when the ice is going on and off. And I always lose. I thought it would be out by tomorrow. But I'm going to be about three or four days off of my guess," he said.

And the sluggish start to spring has an affect on some area businesses as well, like Smith Sport and Hobby in Crandon, where the sport fishing opener typically is one of the busiest times of the year.

"We were debating how we could set everything up, because we obviously don't have enough room to keep everything out. So we've still got some ice fishing stuff out, and we still got all of our spring stuff out now. There's guys doing both honestly right now," said Lynn Smith, Smith Sport and Hobby Co-Owner.

Back on the lake, The Veteran's Memorial Park boat landing was still iced in, but open water was common along the southern shoreline.

"But this now, it will deteriorate fast. With 70 degree weather, and this rain is really going to help. But you have to be patient," said Mueller.

We checked some other lakes in the area.

In Townsend, the Townsend Flowage was still covered in gray-colored ice, as was Silver Lake in the Laona area.

Make sure to share your fishing opener pictures with us.

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