Published February 03, 2009, 12:00 AM

The fish are biting: DNR counts 186 fish houses on Lake Osakis

The truth is in the fish and Lake Osakis anglers are talking fish. All that talk is supported by a healthy amount of fish houses standing on Lake Osakis.

The truth is in the fish and Lake Osakis anglers are talking fish.

All that talk is supported by a healthy amount of fish houses standing on Lake Osakis. There were a total of 186 houses on Lake Osakis January 8.

That’s a 13 percent increase over last year, according to the Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

The DNR Fisheries in Glenwood counted houses by air in its four-county area of Douglas, Pope, Stevens and Grant. That total is down 12 percent to 2,074.

When asked about Lake Osakis, Ryan Kessler of the DNR said any increase is positive news. He added that this winter, while offering good fishing, hasn’t provided ideal ice for travel.

“As a whole the ice has been rough and with a lot of snow people are getting stuck out there,” he said. “Access to houses has been pretty bad.”

Nearby Smith Lake saw a big decrease from 45 fish houses last year to 10 in 2009 and Little Lake Osakis added two houses, bringing its total to six.

The Osakis Review has observed a number of portable fish houses on both Osakis and Smith Lakes.

Kessler responded that portables are a function of snow – if there’s a lot of snow, there seem to be more portable fish houses in use.

“It’s really the way to go for some,” he said. “Instead of lugging a big fish house anglers easily move their portables where the fish are biting.

The total count for Douglas County was down 18 percent to 944.

Lakes Geneva, Victoria and Miltona all had a turnaround from last year’s figures with increases of two, six and 69, respectively.

There were 19 houses on Lake Geneva compared to 17 in 2008 and 49 in 2007. Lakes Victoria and Miltona both returned to their 2007 numbers. The DNR counted 12 houses on Victoria and 180 on Miltona.

Lake Ida had another drop in houses this year with 85 compared to 91 in 2008.

In Pope County, four houses were counted on Westport Lake (down one), two on both Villard Lake (down two) and Laven Lake (down 11) and Lake Reno had 181 (up 32). Lake Minnewaska also increased its number from 381 to 413; it had 518 in 2007.

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