According to Brad Carlson, Spicer fisheries office, Rice Lake is presently at its all-time high, 166 fish houses. The count on all the area lakes is up from last year. Lake Koronis has 146 fish houses on the lake and Long Lake, near Hawick, recorded 27.
Since 1978, the fisheries station has counted the number of fish houses as a way of looking at the number of anglers enjoying winter fishing on larger lakes. Carlson said they have only been counting the fish houses on the smaller lakes about 10 to 12 years.
The Spicer DNR station is responsible for keeping track of the count on lakes in Kandiyohi, Swift, Lyon, and Yellow Medicine counties and on Lake Koronis and Rice Lake in Stearns County.
ďIce and snow conditions play an important role in the number of fish houses found out on the lakes,Ē Carlson said. ďIn a matter of a few weeks or a few days, the crappies can be biting and the number of fishermen on area lakes is up or down depending on where the fish are biting. People are more mobile so it doesnít take much to pick up a fish house and move it to another lake,Ē he added.
Historically, the highest count on Lake Koronis was recorded at 290 fish houses in 1981. The highest count on Long Lake near Hawick was 64 in 1991.
On Green Lake at Spicer, the highest count recorded was 491 fish houses in 1979.
The normal range for Lake Koronis falls between 116 and 253 fish houses; Rice Lake, 75 to 128; and Long Lake, 24 to 36. Carlson said any count above or below this range is considered abnormal.
Fish house count
Lakes 1999 1998 1997 1996 1995
Koronis: 146 - 70 - 107 - 115 - 105
Rice: 166 - 115 - 120 - 112 - 73
Long: 27 - 20 - 24 - 27 - 34
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