Thursday, April 30, 2015

2015 ice-out near for many NW Ontario lakes

Summer-like temperatures and bluebird days are putting the ice-melting on area lakes into hyperdrive. Many could be clear in just days.
Brenda and Laurie Marcil from NOTO are traveling throughout the Northwest right now as they attend spring functions for various camp operator associations. Brenda is president of NOTO and Laurie is executive-director. NOTO or Nature and Outdoor Tourism Ontario, is the provincial organization that represents all outdoor tourism businesses. The majority of those, like Bow Narrows Camp, are in the fishing and hunting business.
Brenda reported from Kenora last night that all the small lakes along the road between Thunder Bay and Kenora are ice-free. Thunder Lake at Dryden, one of the last places to melt in that area, was clear around the shorelines and the remaining ice looked sick.
I've heard that a lot of Lake of the Woods is already clear.
In Red Lake, I heard from a friend that McNeely Bay, a shallow bay near the highway by Balmertown, could be clear in just a couple of days. There is open water around the edge of the channel between Cochenour and McKenzie Island. The little lake near Tim Horton's became clear of ice last weekend. That lake is one of the guides many people use to predict when Red Lake will clear. Most people think the big lake will follow suit about 10-14 days later. So that would make Red Lake ice-out between May 6 and May 10.
Brenda and Laurie will be at the Red Lake Sportsmen's Dinner on Saturday and will file a report on what I consider the best predictor of all, Skookum Bay. This long, shallow bay that crosses Forestry Road is virtually always seven days ahead of the rest of the lake.
Everybody agrees that all it would take for the remaining ice to be history would be a big wind to send it crashing into the shore.
The last place to melt on Red Lake is Howey Bay, right where the town is located. This is a deep bay that has an ice-road to Cochenour cleared on it in the winter and that lets the ice get exceptionally thick. A high ridge also shelters the bay from the prevailing west wind so often the ice there has to just melt, not be broken up mechanically through grinding of ice sheets or against the shore.
The clearing of Howey Bay, however, is what most people consider the official ice-out date for the year.
All areas are reporting dry conditions in the bush and already the forest fire danger is high. That's not unusual. The time between snow-melt and green-up is one of the times of year when fire-fighting crews of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forests are on high-alert. It really complicates matters if there is still ice on the lakes since it prevents water bombers from refilling their tanks without needing to fly long distances to a river or some other water body that is ice-free.
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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

In a previous comment I noted that there was a couple of days that were to be at 19 degrees. According to the extended forecast for Red Lake, the lowest high temperature is going to be 14 (57). Today (Thursday 4-30-2015) is supposed to be 19 (66) and tomorrow 22 (72). Here in southeast Indiana it's only going to be about 75 tomorrow so Red Lake is about the same a s here.
Once again, we will see you a just a few weeks.
Indiana Dave