EVART - It's been an unusual winter as far as Mark Sochocki, of Evart, is concerned.

Sochocki, also director of the Big Rapids Housing Commission, usually likes to spend time at Saginaw Bay going for walleyes. It's a popular past-time for many on this side of the state.

It's been a struggle this season.

"It's been a very poor year for ice fishing," Sochocki said. "We haven't done much. I like to fish Saginaw Bay but there hasn't been much safe ice this year. There's been just a little bit of perch fishing. There's not a whole lot of success, some, but not what we've accustomed too.

"The ice isn't far off shore right now. It keeps blowing out. I think we're looking at a wash this year, in my opinion. There were a couple of years I was out in a boat in January in Saginaw Bay. But that's probably been 20 years ago. It's been pretty poor."

Hunting has also slowed down. Sochocki is working on the Pheasants Forever banquet next month and then hopes to go back to fishing.