Ice conditions are improving

When I think about ice fishing, of course there are plenty of good memories of big fish, warm days on the ice and fun with friends and family. There have also been a good number of bad trips that remain memorable. Getting vehicles stuck, fishless trips, broken equipment and getting snowmobiles stuck in slush.

The first snowmobile I had was a small Indy Lite 340cc. It was light weight and great in the bush. When I got it, it opened up a lot of doors for me on where I could go fishing, for all species. As I mentioned, it was a small machine and lacked a lot of overall power. If I found slush out on the lake, that machine would almost certainly get stuck.

On a few of those occasions, I don’t know that I ever had my heart rate going as high as it did when I was pulling and pushing that machine. Even though it was over 15 years ago, I still feel bad for a few of my friends that got the call to help me out on a couple of those outings.

While the weather the past couple of weeks has been as good as it gets for Sunset Country in January, we did get hit with some regular winter weather back in December. Significant amounts of snow fell on the newly formed ice and slush was popping up just about everywhere on area lakes. On the open stretches where some of the snow had blown off the lake, drifts formed and hardened, making snowmobile travel both uncomfortable and unsafe.

Around Christmas time I was kind of getting scared that we were going to get a repeat of last winter with all of its snow and cold weather. While there is still a lot of winter left, the past couple of weeks have cooled my anxiety there. A lot of snow and cold weather kind stresses me out because I’m gone for a good part of the coming months pursuing my fishing activities in the US so it’s just something else to worry about when I’m gone. Friends always help out with the snow around home but it’s nice not having to worry about how much snow is on the roof or if the driveway is cleared. We could also do without all of the flooding again in the spring.

Fortunately, the nice weather over the past couple of weeks has helped the conditions on the ice. It has been cold enough at night that most of the slush on area lakes has really tightened up pretty good. Fishing on the weekend, we did run into slush a couple of times but it’s a lot better out there than it was a couple of weeks back. The snow drifts, while still there, have smoothed over a little bit and don’t seem to be quite as sharp as they were. It’s still slow going out there but conditions have improved a lot.

If you do run into some slush in your travels on the ice, try to avoid it as best you can. If you get into a slush hole with a snowmobile, don’t stop. Try to power through and hopefully you’ll pop out the other side so you can carry on with your day. If you find it in a truck, you might be driving it somewhere that you shouldn’t be. Enjoy the nice winter days and get outside when you can.

Snow conditions on area lakes have improved significantly over the past couple of weeks, with many of the slushy spots now frozen over.