Ice Out on Lake of the Woods

Lake of the Woods Ice Transformation

Spring Fever

Have you caught spring fever yet?  Are you dreaming of  lake trout fishing Lake of the Woods? What does it look like at your house?  Are you gathering and collecting all of the things you think might make your lake experience better this year?  Are you looking at a new fishing rod, a new boat motor, or anticipating the friends you would like to invite that haven’t yet seen Lake of the Woods in Canada?  Perhaps you are taking advantage of the real estate market and envision yourself being the proud owner of an island on Lake of the Woods for the ultimate fishing on Lake of the Woods.  Let’s check out Lake of the Woods ice conditions.

Island Real Estate

Stages of Ice Out on the Lake

Spring unfolds gradually on Shehaweh Island.  Snow lazily disappears as clear sunny days erupt.  There are many stages to what is referred to as ‘break-up’ or ‘ice-out’,  the ice giving way to water.  It is not uncommon to have over 3’ of ice formation, especially where ice roads have been used.  Snow provides insulation to the ice.  If there is a lot of snow, which there has been this winter, there should be a substantial amount of water pooling on top of the ice.

Ice Ripples

I recall one year when there was over 6” of water on top of the ice.  It was unnerving driving through the water as wind created ripples and waves.  Safety lies in following the same path, and as the days slipped by that became harder and harder to do as the banks of our ice road disappeared beneath water.  The lake appeared as a bottomless shimmering silver pool.  With open truck windows for quick escape, I would drive white knuckled, significantly alarmed at times when the ice would boom – somewhere a crack had emerged or lengthened.

Free Wheeling

And then one day, the water would simply disappear, revealing hardened white ice patterns like a reptile’s skin or moonscape and documenting frozen footprints of humans and animals that had passed through when slush froze.  It was `free wheeling’ time.  As an island dweller, this is the time of the year with significant freedom.  The ice has dried off because it has broken away from shore and floats, sending surface water snaking below.  Trucks, cars, ATV’s, and less snow machines with experienced Lake of the Woods spring drivers can simply drive across Lake of the Woods.  It`s a free for all for those who live in the area.  Lake trout fishing is prime and will continue to be as spring unfolds and Lake of the Woods ice disappears.

Spring on ShehawehLake of the Woods Spring Break-Up

From White to Black and Back Again

Some time later, usually 10 – 14 days, the ice appears darker, as though reflecting the blackness from beneath.  Oddly, it is Mother Nature’s way of telling us that we should make haste to deliver, transport, and remove anything to and from the island with ease.  It turns white once again, and then a final blackened state that announces spring.  By now, the landings, or point of land that is the gateway onto the lake has deteriorated making the passing of vehicles unlikely and treacherous.  The whole process can take 4 to 8 weeks depending on the weather, original formation or condition of the ice, and location on Lake of the Woods.  It`s a magical time awaiting the transformation of this pristine solid mass giving way to its’ liquid form.

Normally, the water levels are low in the spring, and continue to rise as snow melts on the slopes of islands and mainlands, rushing to the basin of the lake.  Wanting to know how the water levels are doing on Lake of the Woods in Canada.  Check out Lake of the Woods Control Board who is the regulatory Board for water levels on Lake of the Woods.

Get ready.  Spring is coming and so is Lake of the Woods ice out!

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