Gunflint Lake Has Ice, 12.16.17

Winter has clenched its grasp this week with temperatures in the single digits and winds strong enough to keep a person inside. There are a couple of weeks left before the winter season gets popular around here, while the trails are being prepped for both the snowmobilers and the Nordic skiers.
The early snowfall that got everyone prematurely excited has diminished to an occasional dusting of light fluffy snow. There have been a few weather systems nearly catching our corner of the state, but none have given us the direct hit we need to get a good enough dumping to start the season right. I can see twigs and tall grass poking through the six- to eight-inch base of snow covering most of the trails, and the high winds have surely knocked down a few trees that will need to be cut.Gunflint Lake has finally locked up with ice this week, which typically means that Seagull and Saganaga are covered as well. The deep lakes take longer to freeze, but once they start, they build ice quickly – especially with temperatures dipping below zero overnight.
Devil Track and the surrounding lakes froze sometime during the first week of November and are now reaching eight to 10 inches of ice, reported by some local anglers. Fishing has been slow for most, which could be from the lack of snowfall on top of the ice. Light penetrates the ice and causes fish to spook easier than if the lake was covered in a dark blanket of snow.
There have been some stories of vehicles falling through the ice this year. Lakes are not always covered consistently with thick enough ice for vehicles. Loon Lake might already have six inches of ice while Gunflint Lake, located a mile away, has only one inch because it just locked up a few days ago. Play it safe and check the ice often, because no fish is worth endangering yourselves and the people sent to save you.

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