Big news among ice fishers this winter is lack of ice due to mild temperatures.
Ice fishing has been pretty much confined to shallow lakes and ponds, many with less than 6 inches of ice cover.
The arctic blast that was predicted for this week should form some ice. But we can’t assume just because we’ve had some unseasonably cold temperatures that all lakes will be safe.
Remember that ice is formed by freezing water, not freezing air.
A new dump of snow may actually insulate surface water, preventing the formation of clear, solid ice.
Another player in this drama is wind. High winds can literally blow forming ice apart.
We’ll just have to wait to see how much ice is formed.
Here’s a list of some popular area lakes that had enough ice for safe fishing at the end of last week:
• Lake Mary Ronan, perch and salmon.
• Little Bitterroot Lake (north end), perch and rainbow.
• Lower and Upper Thompson Lakes, perch. Lower has rainbows. Upper has pike.
• Lake Five, kokanee and perch
• Blanchard Lake, perch, crappie, sunfish and pike
• Lower Stillwater Lake, perch and pike
• Island Lake, perch.
Always check the condition of the ice. Don’t fish alone. Carry a throwable rope.
Jerry Smalley’s Fishful Thinking column appears weekly in the Hungry Horse News.