It is official the ice is off and fishing season has begun. After one of the worst winters the area has ever seen the lakes are thawed and local fishermen were out in full force at Lake Arthur. I was one of the anglers out for their first trip of the year. I got to the lake with my dad around 8:15 this morning. We found that the lake had surprisingly high water temperatures. It varied from 44 to 46 degrees. That is much higher than I had anticipated since the ice hadn’t come off until yesterday. By the end of the day Porter’s Cove and the 422 launch area water temperatures had reached 50 degrees! The water level is about 6 inches to 1 foot high. The water clearity varied, but for the most part it was clear to slightly stained. Most of the day I was unsuccessful in catching fish, but it was enjoyable to be on the water. I did manage a 13 inch largemouth on a rapala x-shad around 2:00 pm. I also caught a nice 6 pound striper on a strike king diamond shad. I was retrieving the diamond shad at a high rate of speed in about 4 feet of water near a road bed. It was the first time I had ever had to dig a lipless crankbait out of a fish’s throat. Needless to say I ended up keeping the striper because he would have died anyways. For those who don’t know it, striped bass are very tasty, so I was that upset about keeping the fish. Most of the time I practice catch and release, but several times a year I will keep a striped bass to eat. I am hoping to get back on the water tomorrow afternoon.