Friday, February 16, 2018

It's Over

That's all folks! Today at work I made simple plans to put away my ice gear on Monday. The Ice Breaker came early this week, as I wrote about that as the turning point; more rain and mild temperatures followed, and not only are two days forecast with temperatures around 70 next week, which means probably warmer, temperatures will range into the 40's and 50's on the other days.

I noticed one of the neighborhood ponds is fully open. Last Friday, it was frozen hard.

I got out three times. Just as I planned to ice fish this winter. It doesn't quite feel enough, which means maybe next winter, I'll do more. We caught fish. I don't mean I'm not satisfied; I just feel I could get a lot more into the grind than I did.

And I have plans already about how to approach next winter, which means we might catch more fish than this winter. Maybe a lot more. Budd Lake is always my wild card, however, and it seems I can't help but get skunked there...even though I'm very drawn to ice fish that lake. I don't have it in my plans, but might not be able to help myself and change them; I don't know, even though admitting that is already a subtle adjustment. So I doubt it.

I've been going to Hopatcong mostly in recent years, but now I seem to have enough--or almost enough--photos for my book. Ice fishing photos, I mean. I preferred ice fishing elsewhere this year.

Hope for frigid weather!

But for now, spring is certainly on the way in.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Ice Holding Out Yet on Hopatcong

Here's Laurie's report today. Not surprising ice as yet holds out on Hopatcong, since the lake has no major streams leading into it. But now even Laurie is casting doubts about the coming week and March. That storm the other day might have been a turning point even for Hopatcong, ice melting with milder days, or who knows. Maybe the weather will turn just cold enough to make ice fishing possible next week, when I can get out on Tuesday, and I hope Mike also. All I know is that once those vertical striations weaken that thick ice, I'm not going out on it, and no one else should either, if there's not a four inch layer of hard and clear ice underneath striations working downward. 

That can be hard to judge, too. Four inches here? What about over there? It's much easier to judge safety on freshly frozen, hard clear ice four inches thick, because you can see any difference at your feet.


As of yesterday, there was still accessible ice on Lake Hopatcong. You will still need to watch along some of your shorelines. The ice in Great Cove was  just under 8 inches and on the Main Lake just under 6 inches  with access off the front of the dock. The Knee Deep Club had cancelled their contest set for Sunday Feb. 11 due to the heavy rain, although some guys were seen out there fishing in the rain and fog.  Their next contest is scheduled for March 4th. Not sure we’ll make that with the warmer weather forecast for the next week, but we will see. We still have bait and ice fishing tackle available and are open at 6 AM, 7 days a week. They have been catching some walleye on jigs and bait, along with some Hybrids and lots of yellow perch and pickerel.  I have also heard of several muskies in the low 40 inch range.  Please call the shop for up to date ice conditions. Have a great week...

Monday, February 12, 2018

Ice Breaker

Today's weather is what I call an ice breaker, because the forecast hereabouts for the next 10 days is not in favor of anyone attempting to get out on the hardwater. Besides, any lakes or ponds with streams entering them are sure to have seen major ice erosion, if not breakage and floe, resulting from the amount of precipitation. I crossed the North Branch on my way to work and it was up to the bank edge. Temperatures climbed into the 60's, and we may have more marks above 60 by week's end. The forecast keeps shape-shifting. Last I saw it, prospects looked good for the next Tuesday. (This coming Tuesday my wife is taking the day off on my day off.)

What a winter. Near-record cold some days, plenty of cold otherwise, but every time a storm system moves in--most times anyway--the temperature climbs and rain falls. I watched the video of Zach Merchant (I'll place the link at end-of-story), and just loved the footage of him trudging through snow. You're not supposed to like snow as an adult, so you can call me a kid if you want, not much offense in that, because children have all the wonder and energy.

Had hoped to get out on RV Pond with Mike Maxwell. I was going to invite him, anyway. Such arrangements, in general, tend not to work out, but eventually, we always get out there.