Late last fall I wrote about how obsessed we can be out here in Flyover Country about watching water freeze, paying close attention as lakes freeze over for the winter. Well, now we are approaching the other end of the equation as we reach late April and are anxious to watch the same ice melt. The record “ice out” date on one of our larger local lakes is May 7. I believe that record dates back into the 1800s. Well, we just may have a shot at a new record this spring, as we still seem to have about 30 inches of ice on the Lake.
There are less people ice fishing each day, but it’s not for lack of safe ice to venture out upon, rather I think most fishermen have just plain had enough ice fishing and are anxious for the open water version of the sport.
Waiting for “ice out” is a bit like a kid waiting for his or her birthday, anticipating the excitement, only not knowing the actual date of the birthday. We wait for ice out but really have no way of determining when it will happen. I suppose that’s why there are so many “ice out” contests around these parts. The factors determining when the ice will leave the lakes are many. Will it be cloudy or sunny? The sun is as high in the sky now as it is in August. Each sunny day now really affects the ice. Will it rain? Lately all our precipitation has still been in the form of snow, actually slowing the ice-melt progress. A quick warm-up with a bunch of rain could really hurry the opening of our lakes. Of course temperatures will really affect the meltdown the most. So far we have been below freezing every night and hardly reaching the 30s during the day.
The forecast is for the temperatures to warm up to the 60s in a day or two and then stay pretty normal next week. That should get things going in the ice out department. Meanwhile I’m going to go out on a limb and predict that the lakes will open. There are however, a few winter- weary folks around here who might disagree.