MOSQUITO LAKE, Ohio (WKBN) – Overall, it has been a mild winter in the Valley. It has stopped many from participating in a popular winter hobby: ice fishing. Unfrozen waters impact not just the fishermen, but the fish they take.

If you’ve driven by any lakes or streams in the Valley this winter, you may have noticed they haven’t been frozen. It has really hindered this year’s ice fishing season.

“In Northeast Ohio, the area that I cover, it’s essentially been nil,” said Curt Wagner, ODNR’s fisheries management supervisor.

Wagner says there were only one to two days to ice fish this winter.

A frozen lake can positively impact its ecosystem. The ice creates an oxygen barrier, killing off some gizzard shad fish in the lakes.

“Gizzard shad are incredibly sensitive to, you know, the low oxygen winter conditions. It actually helps with the prey balance,” Wagner said.

Without the ice, these fish can overpopulate a lake. Aquatic vegetation can also overgrow, which causes problems for boaters.

“Vegetation is just thicker and it’s just tougher to literally get the boat around because it’s wrapping up in the props,” Wagner said.

Janet Yohman owns Lakeside Sportshop near Mosquito Lake. She has owned the store since 2010 and says this is only the second year the lake hasn’t frozen over since then.

“There are some people that only ice fish. They don’t fish other times of the year. They only ice fish. So they were really disappointed,” Yohman said.

Yohman recently began removing the store’s ice fishing gear, which filled the store all winter untouched. Even without ice, Mosquito Lake was still busy for regular fishing.

“Because the lake was open, so they could fish from shore down below the dam. So there were still fishermen out there, but not like it should have been,” Yohman said.

Yohman hopes Mosquito Lake isn’t filled with too many weeds this summer.