The robins are confused. The one hanging out in my yard lately is looking very unhappy, all puffed up to stay warm in the below-freezing mornings, pecking away at the frozen grass, looking for worms that are way down deep. The days are warming up though, and despite the widespread Easter weekend cold snap, I am still optimistic that most lakes in Algonquin Park will be navigable by "opening day"on April 28. Having said that, don't blame it on me if you can't paddle to your favourite fishing spot that weekend!
Lakes visible from Hwy 60 are showing open water around the edges and at river mouths and the ice is starting to look a bit gray. I just got an Opeongo report - some of our spring staff are moving into the residence at Lake Opeongo today. They were walking on the lake this morning and estimate that the ice is at least 12" thick near the store. The long range forecast indicates sun and warm temps after April 18, and if this holds true, things should start to open up quickly. Stay tuned to this blog and the Electric Penguin's ice-out page for further developments.
The Meteorological Service of Canada recently released three-month long range forecasts, suggesting that southern and central Ontario will experience hotter and drier weather than usual through the end of June. Since the peak of spring run-off has already passed, this will mean that water levels will drop quickly once the ice disappears. Take this into account if you are planning a summer canoe route that includes streams and small rivers like the Nipissing, Crow or Tim. It could also mean that black-fly season will be shorter than usual, which most folks won't complain about.
If you are canoe shopping, please note that our neighbours at Swift Algonquin are now open Friday through Monday until early May, when they will be open seven days a week. For details on new and used canoes in stock at Oxtongue Lake, please call Brian or Pete at 705-635-1167 or send them an e-mail. If you are getting spring canoe fever, combine a visit to Algonquin Outfitters, Swift Canoe and Algonquin Park! Our Oxtongue Lake store currently has amazing sales on winter clothing (ask about our amazing 30/40/50% off deal) and snowshoes are still on display and marked down 30%.