High hopes for spring fishing season

EDWARDSBURG, Mich. – While quite a few around Michiana have likely enjoyed the mild and almost warm winter this year, many haven’t been happy to see so many sunny days. 

Ice fishers and the businesses that supply them have endured a season of little to no chances to get out on the ice for one of the season’s most popular sports.

"I've never seen a winter quite like this and I've lived here my whole life," remarked Kevin Claire, General Manager at Lunker’s in Edwardsburg. "It's been the most unusual I've seen in the 21-years I've been here, of course we never really got the ice that we needed for the ice fisherman.”

For sporting shops like Lunker’s who cater to anglers, the winter ice fishing season is usually a big part of their business.

"It's one of our shortest seasons but it's one of our really good seasons, it's compacted time wise but it's an excellent time sales wise for us,” Claire explained. “We didn't sell as many shanties or as many units as we usually do."

As the season has wound down Lunker’s and other shops have started selling ice fishing gear at a discount and have seen sales pick up from fisherman looking ahead to next year. They’re also ramping up in hopes that the recent, almost spring-like, weather in Michiana means a good spring season is coming.

"I think the sportsmen out there are chomping at the bit ready to get out, I think they don't only have ‘spring fever’ they've got ‘winter fever’ from not being out all winter,” Claire estimated. “So even more than a normal spring I think guys are really anxious to get out on the water."

Claire said, for sporting goods stores, one of the positive aspects of a warm winter may be that fisherman who haven’t been able to be out on local lakes will cause a boom in business in anticipation of the spring fishing season.

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