June 6, 2014 Share

Ice Out? Not Yet!

Originally Published on Mar 16, 2012 “From the Dock” NBC Sports

On the inside door of a kitchen cupboard Karen keeps a written record of the day of ice out on the lake outside our back door. Last year’s date, April 12, was pretty standard. She also tracks the day the lake freezes completely over (December 6 in 2011, November 27 in 2010…), and milestones of spring including the date we see the first robin (February 1 this year, earliest ever!) and when the dock goes in (May 6th last year as I had some work to do on it before installation).

I suspect Karen’s habitual tracking has roots in what is commonly called cabin fever and it usually hits many this time of year. March is a tough month in the north country. Fishing seasons for most gamefish species are now closed (and won’t open to early or late May depending on the species). And while panfishing is usually excellent right now, it comes with a real chance of getting wet as the ice needed to access a lake in this neck of the woods is rapidly deteriorating.

Ice out is a unique phenomenon, with rapid changes in both the color and density of the ice. Solid ice is clear or a clear blue. Rotten ice is usually a dark blue because as it melts it honeycombs and becomes saturated with water in the process. It takes four inches of good ice to support and angler walking; honeycombed ice is much more touchy. In fact, I now stay off it after an incident several years ago that involved me swimming while fully clothed.



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