Sunday, April 19, 2009

Moving towards "ice out"

Smoke Lake, as seen from Fisherman's Point on April 16
(OK, so I'm no Ansel Adams. I just thought the image looked better in black and white.)

I don't have a new ice report for Algonquin Park today but I can report that all the lakes around Huntsville are open. Fairy, Vernon and Peninsula Lakes are all ice-free. Lake of Bays is mostly open with ice in some bays. Oxtongue Lake is 70% open. There is wind, rain and warm weather in this week's forecast, which will help get things moving.

My personal prediction is that you will be able to canoe somewhere in Algonquin Park next weekend. Most big lakes will likely still be ice-covered. Check the Algonquin Park news bulletin on Wednesday or Thursday, as they will posting a report after a fly-over on Tuesday.

Craig MacDonald, Algonquin Park's ice-out guru, told me recently that there are certain lakes that are predictably "resistant" to breaking up and hold ice longer than others. Typically, these are headwater lakes with little inflow. Good examples in Algonquin Park are Opeongo, Smoke, LaMuir, Tim, Ralph Bice and Louisa. With the exception of LaMuir, all of those lakes are either at access points or within range of a day's paddle, so just one ice-covered lake on your route could significantly affect route plans.

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