Business is Booming at Local Bait Shops

A Mid-Winter Warmup Has Not Impacted Ice Fishing, According to Local Businesses

DULUTH, Minn. – We’re learning the recent mid-winter warm-up has not impacted business at local bait shops in the Northland.

Store owners at Chalstrom’s Bait and Tackle, and Fisherman’s Corner tell FOX 21 it’s been the best year for ice fishing business in the past five years.

It’s a passion for many, only Mother Nature can deny.

“Once you’re into fishing, you really don’t get out of it,” said John Chalstrom, Owner of Chalstrom’s Bait and Tackle.

It’s a lifelong love, that takes patience and a little practice.

“This has been one of the best ice fishing seasons we’ve had in many years,” said Chalstrom.

With some good local bait pairing with below zero temperatures; it makes for a good year on frozen local lakes.

“We’ve had more people on the ice this winter than probably any other winter in the last five years,” said Chalstrom.

He says the recent warmup hasn’t impacted the ice levels much.

“I can’t think of a better place to be than sitting on a lake going after some crappies,” said Chalstrom.

For Owner Scott Vanvalkenburg, business has been off the hook at Fisherman’s Corner.

“We’ve had a really good winter. December started out a little slow but once the 15th hit and things froze up well,” said Vanvalkenburg. “The best weather a lot of the times isn’t the most comfortable.”

With a medium breeze from the east, cold temps and a fair amount of snow, he says anglers are bound to be surprised by the end of the day.

“If you go out and you don’t have much action that means you’re not moving around much,” said Vanvalkenburg.

The local business lures in 90 percent of winter sales with crappie fishing, seasonal equipment and lots of bait and tackle.

“Most of the people that are going to be fishing are targeting the croppies right now,” said Vanvalkenburg.

Fishing for walleye and pike is now a thing of the past until May.

“People can still go fish for perch, they can fish for croppies,” said Chalstrom. “Loopers and Coho, that’s still open on Lake Superior.”

Allowing Northlanders to continue to net until weather starts to warm up even more.

“People will fish whenever they can. It’s a lot more fun than doing taxes,” said Chalstrom.

Both owners say people are still going out on lakes but only by foot, ATV, or snowmobile.

They say high teens and low twenties are perfect temperatures for freezing things up after a thaw.

CREDIT: Photojournalist Adam Jagunich

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