A Word of Caution on Current Ice Conditions
December 24, 2015
Christmastime is finally here; the kids are on holidays and the ground is covered with snow. We are all anxious to get out on the lake and do some snowmobiling and ice fishing as we do every holiday season.
As a bait fisherman and fur trapper, I have been working on the ice for over 30 years. I have NEVER in all of my years of experience, seen ice conditions like this. The current conditions are the most dangerous I have ever seen for this time of year.
We were finally getting some decent ice on the smaller lakes and ponds and then the snow came. Some of the larger and deeper lakes are still not frozen over, while others are only partially frozen. With this latest snowfall, it is near impossible to spot the dangerous areas, including the pressure ridges.
With the weight of the snow on the ice, the water is now coming up through the cracks resulting in inconsistency in the ice thickness. It is not good enough to check the ice in one spot and feel you are safe. You need to check the ice in every place that you plan to step. In areas with the slightest current or bog, there may not be much ice if any at all.
When I am out working, I use a needle-nose ice pick to check the ice thickness EVERYWHERE that I travel. For now, I would not advise going on the lakes at all. If absolutely necessary, please venture out with extreme caution and thoroughly check the ice thickness in all areas. Some places may be okay to walk on, but I cannot stress enough how inconsistent the thickness can be.
The conditions will improve once the water on top freezes over, but first we need some colder weather. We may be weeks away from safe conditions, especially on the bigger lakes, so please be patient.
I just wanted to share my observations and hope that reading this makes people think twice about going on the lakes this Holiday Season. We would like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas from the Clark Family. Please be safe!!