Thursday, February 1, 2018

Ice Conditions

Interesting encounter at work today:

I said, "Have you been ice fishing?"

"No, not safe."

"I heard there's seven inches on Hopatcong."

"It's this thick." He measured about an inch between fingers. "I'm not going out there."

"I haven't been out, either."

So who knows. The pond aside of Route 78 is open. I haven't seen the pond nearby tonight, but another up on the hill still has ice cover. Laurie is a reliable source. She has seven inches at the shop as of yesterday, but what exists elsewhere on the lake is not the same. And she didn't specify ice conditions, besides the typical melt along shorelines.

I've said it before. An entire book can be written on ice conditions.

Trying to sleep last night, which I never did well, an image--among too many--broke in on my mind. Ice reduced to melt slush.

Safe ice is hard and clear. What happens during a melt, when warmth gets down beneath the surface layer made kind of gritty, is striation. Ice sort of rots, with vertical linear streaks of separation between ice and liquid penetration. I fished on ice, March 11th, 2008, with my son, striated downward four inches, with five inches of hard ice beneath that weakness. Carefully. Because I didn't want us to step where the safe margin might be compromised.

After striation goes all the way through, ice can reduce to slush floating on water pretty quickly.

That said, plans remain in place to ice fish Tuesday and the following Saturday. Secure plans, no. But plans. The weather forecast didn't holdout as predicted last week, and ice fishing this coming Saturday seems too iffy. The forecast as it stands now doesn't look good for the Tuesday or the next Saturday, either, but the Saturday, maybe.

Sometimes I look back on an impulse to take a risk, which later, when I rejected it, I felt unwise, and I think, even later, it might have been worth the effort.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Maxwell's Cortland Corner

Spoke to Mike Maxwell while walking Sadie. He might ice fish with me and Joe Landolfi on Tuesday, but what really got my attention was his fixing brakes on a car. If any of you ever need a vehicle serviced, Mike's Cortland Corner is a good option. Watching him work was a pleasure despite the cold, even though I didn't stand there through the whole operation. As Americans, we support small business primarily because the service is good and economical, and Cortland Corner is just that, at a basic level and therefore worthy. Litton's Fishing Lines operates under the motto, "An Angler Always Finds a Way," and just the other day, I contemplated these words, drawing out the fact that they don't apply to me alone. After all, I never wrote "The Angler Always finds a Way," as if to imply myself. Economic hardship is a bitch with a simple solution to her demands. Getting out there and doing work. Does a man depend on a written resume and recipients of it? No. Sometimes none of the likes make any difference, even if they should.

If any of you need mechanical work done, you can phone me at 908-448-8675. I'll relay the message to Mike.  

Laurie's Latest

Laurie's latest Lake Hopatcong report:

There is still ice on Lake Hopatcong, anywhere from 6 to 8 inches.  You will need to watch some shorelines that have refroze after opening up from the rain or a dock bubbler. Access to the lake from our dock is still okay.  Fishing was somewhat slower over the past weekend, but several fish did make their way to the scale, or the frying pan. Some perch and pickerel were caught, along with a 4 pound largemouth bass caught by Adik Ackerman and a 2 lb smallmouth caught by Lou Marcucci. Kyle Macrae had several nice fish with a large pickerel, a 2 lb smallmouth,  several nice large yellow perch and some walleye.  The Knee Deep Club’s next ice fishing contest is set for February 11th., as long as the ice remains good. We are still well stock with all the  ice fishing tackle and bait you’d need for a day on the ice and we are open from 6 AM to 6 PM,  seven days a week. Have a great week !

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Ice News

Phoned Joe Landolfi on the way to work about possibly ice fishing tomorrow. I told him about the pond here where I live. Open. He shot back about Oxford Furnace Lake, telling me he was just on it, 10 inches thick. I told him I'm awaiting word from Laurie and would phone him at 9:30.

Laurie says ice is seven inches thick at the shop, so at least in the coves, Hopatcong remained safe though all of the mild weather and rain, and that includes one day about two weeks ago that nearly hit 70 degrees.

I know. It's not that I'm surprised. I've ice fished at 72 degrees. I know of others who have at 80 degrees in March. I'm just cautious. Conservative by temperament.

Plans also proceed for Oliver Round and me to ice fish another lake. I would emphasize that it's another lake, not Hopatcong, and ice conditions, for examples, vary from open water here in Bedminster, to solid seven inches at Hopatcong.

I told Oliver, having judged the forecast, things look better for the next Saturday, not this coming Saturday. That said, I've known all along it's likely this lake we plan on fishing is safe now, will be Saturday, as has been safe for more than a month. I just don't care to blow a morning followed by a hard work shift by getting up before five and then getting surprised.

That's more and less so, anyway. Last week I emailed Oliver and asked if he'd like to risk it Saturday. We didn't, though.

Phoned Joe at 9:24, left message, and don't expect him to get back tonight, though I said he is free to phone. I would have ice fished with him tomorrow.