Big Lake Ice, 2.10.18

Lakes are very unique in shape, depth, and current conditions which all play important roles in how, and sometimes if, a lake freezes each winter. The biggest, deepest lake of all has been fighting the ice for weeks as the high winds have kept it at bay, or at least “in the bay,” until today.

While taking the kids to school this morning, I saw large plates of ice drifting offshore on Lake Superior as far as I could see. With a little luck those floating plates could connect into a solid body of ice if the temperatures remain, and the wind lets up enough to allow the ice to thicken. The harbor has been mostly frozen over for a few weeks, but the big lake water has been too rough to freeze for any amount of time this season.

I have yet to ice fish on Lake Superior, and I am always baffled by Duluth ice anglers who brave the few hours of morning ice before it breaks away. I love to fish, but there isn’t a fish worth that kind of stressful angling.

My big lake ice experience comes from slightly smaller “big” lakes located on the Gunflint Trail, which bring their own set of worries without having to guess when the ice house will start drifting off to sea. It would be neat to fish the big lake this winter, but it would have to be locked up for a long time before I would even think about trying.

The Gunflint Trail lakes are giving up some nice lake trout in-between passing cold fronts, and the designated stream trout lakes have been providing fish dinners for anglers willing to put in the effort. So many lakes and so little time!

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