Great Lakes Ice Cause Problems for Commercial Fishing Operations - WBAY

Great Lakes Ice Cause Problems for Commercial Fishing Operations

Two Rivers -

The Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory reports 79% of the Great Lakes are covered with ice this winter.

That's well above the long-term average of 51%.

Click here for a time lapse of Lake Michigan from the National Weather Service.

"It's just a bad winter," Mike LeClair said, president of the Susie Q Fish Market in Two Rivers.

LeClair, who runs a commercial fishing operation, said he hasn't seen this much ice since 1977.

Typically he breaks ice along the river leading into Lake Michigan once or twice a week.

This year, they're breaking once or twice a day.

"We have the same amount of business, but the amount of fuel is almost double because it's taking you longer to get where you have to go," LaClair said.

Down the road in Two Rivers at the U.S. Coast Guard station, crews are training daily for the threat of ice rescues, even with what conventionally seems like a lot of ice.

"As far as it goes, if it's 12 inches, if it's three inches, you never know how bad the ice actually is," Ashley Johnson said, a fireman with the Coast Guard.

LeClair said it's too early to tell whether the ice will have a major impact on commercial fishing this spring or summer.

He's also working with researchers from U.S. Fish and Wildlife.

"There's absolutely nothing that ice helps," he said. "Nothing."

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