Around Madison in Southern Wisconsin the true cold has not really set in well. Today I was on the south side of Monona walking on refrozen chunk ice that had lots of slush that needed to be cleared from the hole or you couldn't even get a minnow down. The open water was a predominant area and it hasn't had calm single digits, instead windy ones which breaks up the skim and pushes it, and the water chilled by the air as slush under it. There are protected areas that have formed clear 3 inch ice but oddly the fishing isn't very good and the usual hot spots are not. Things can get only better
We are finally getting out on some smaller main lake ice. This was from New Year's Day and there was about four inches here, with the top layer being snow ice that sucked up and froze. Still not running machines and I saw a large hundred foot areas (goose hole) that had only an inch before it snowed on Wednesday in Southern Wisconsin.
Finding anywhere from 7-10" of ice in the North Metro, MN area. Definitely some snow and slush on the ice which makes things "fun." Haven't checked the ice in the South Metro yet, but I'm hearing anywhere from 5-10" across much of the area. Still use caution and we're not ready for truck traffic yet! ATV and snowmobiles are how we're currently getting around in the immediate area...
In Madison I fished Monona Bay on Sunday morning. Ice was good every where I drilled, probably six inches. Under the Nolen bridge there was much less, according to people who had gone there but there is danger in places like that. Fishing was less than good, not marking as much as last week and not really hitting good. Only two keeper gills. Better days ahead.
Pleasant Creek Lake (Palo, Iowa) 4-8 inches everywhere I drilled. Heard reports that the depth was "spotty" in parts. Check as you go. Tents all around the lake on Saturday (1/16). Crappie and Bluegill were biting for me!
Ice is definitely getting better in the Metro Area, MN. Some vehicles are starting to drive out on SOME of the lakes. There is no consistency and every lake is different. Don't take any chances and make sure to check conditions for yourself. Seeing anywhere from 10-14" on a majority of the lakes. A lot of the slush and snow has gone away though, so you can get around again a little easier. Looks like a nice stretch of cold days are ahead of us and hopefully we make some more ice!
Lots of snow means lots of slush. The last two snowstorms a week apart have dumped a foot of snow that has made the ice thickness less than uniform. Fortunately there are no vehicles allowed on the Dane County lakes, only atv's and snowmobiles. Get ready for another dump, then sub zero temps starting this weekend. When you go through slush in very cold weather, it instantly freezes on your machine's chassis.
Hunkering down in the midst of a sub-zero cold snap. First time on larger water after waiting for tough pioneers to make it out to the deep basin. Travel off established paths is unpredictable, especially with the Fish Trap.
The warm weather is breaking down deep snow cover, allowing more variety in travel area. Not that there isn't deep water slush pockets where the ice is flexed downward but the probability of getting buried stuck is diminished. Tall rubber boots are definitely being tested when walking, water in spots is well over six inches deep. I stopped on a high, dry area in the basin.
Snow has broken down, slush has solidified and water has drained down off the ice. Watch for dark spots that have been where melt has breached the ice pack. Now is the time to run the lake and enjoy the conditions that we have been lacking all season long. It's going to be fleeting because of the warm rains forecasted and the cold snap insulation situation this winter.