In all my years of living in Minnesota, this has been the coldest November I ever remember. On the positive note, the ice conditions are kick starting the ice fishing season big time. With lack of snow cover, ice fisherman have been on the move and traveling to local lakes all over the Grand Rapids area. Some of the major bodies of water like Pokegama, Trout, Wabana, and Deer are deeper waters and it takes a bit for decent ice travel. Ice levels have been as little as 2″ on areas of Pokegama and Deer River; with Winnie around 5-7″ and smaller area lakes are up to 8″ of ice. No ice is truly safe and caution must be used at all times. First ice fishing can be some of the best all season and fishing areas where different species were found in the fall can be key. Some of the better walleye lakes in the area for early ice opportunities are Big Winnibigoshish, Sand, Bowstring, and Moose. They freeze up earlier and provide the best chances for travel. These lakes can also provide decent panfishing very good northern pike possibilities. Crappies and Bluegills are abundant on several Grand Rapids area lakes such as Big and Little Splithand, Bass, and Big and Little Balsam. Be careful always and get out and enjoy what the Grand Rapids and Itasca County lakes have to offer.