Ice fishers reel in freshly frozen Lake Mendota

Published: Dec. 26, 2022 at 7:18 PM CST
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - The largest lake in Madison has officially frozen over, and Madisonians’ are taking advantage of the new layer of ice while it lasts.

It’s a welcomed sight for ice fishers like Matthew Jones and his son.

While they haven’t ice fished in the area before, they’re not new to this popular winter hobby.

Originally from Illinois, Jones said he’s been pleasantly surprised how quickly the lakes have frozen over in Madison.

“It happened super quick,” Jones said. “I mean it wasn’t but two weeks ago [Lake Mendota] was all open water, and now we’re on a big slab.”

Mendota was officially declared frozen on Dec. 25 by the Wisconsin State Climatology Office, five days after the average date of Dec. 20 but nearly two weeks earlier than 2021.

“We’re really excited because when the lakes are frozen, they actually provide 17 football fields of outdoor parks, and so that’s why they are truly our frozen assets,” Clean Lakes Alliance Executive Director James Tye said.

Ice fishers are already taking advantage of those 17 football fields worth of frozen ice.

“I think at some point we’ll catch something,” Jones said.

But, there’s just one reminder for those hitting the ice.

“It’s really important to always make sure that the ice is frozen and it has good thickness,” Tye said.

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