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camper4lyfe

Freeze, thaw, and ice quality

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Being new to ice fishing, and watching this crazy weather we have these days, I've started to wonder what the freeze-thaw-freeze cycles do to the ice, and the quality of the ice.

 

What're your experiences with this sort of cycle?

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Shore ice is the first to go.  Old holes, pressure cracks and gas pockets will be bigger.  Use spud, rope, and ice picks as back up plans.  A life jacket would not hurt either.  If we get any kind of refreeze with a coating of snow, the ice will be a lot harder to read.  I am putting my ice fishing stuff away for the season.  I will find other places to fish on open water. 

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Not looking real great with the warm up and rain we got. Definitely spud your way out and back in. Sometimes things freeze overnight making the morning a easy walk out to fish and then when you go to head back in the route is worse. The more north you are the better things should be. Check iceshanty for reports on ice also.

 

Yeah it sucks but think I am with gambler and done for the year.

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what Gambler said , be careful dude . every year ice fishing people push the warm weather and are not here to tell the story what happen . 

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Right.  I'm not saying going out in 70's, and expecting everything to be perfect.  I'm thinking more if we get back to the cold like we had a couple weeks ago, and how the ice will be effected by it after it freezes back up.

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I’m not really talking about this tear specifically, just in general. Say it happened in December or January when there’s a good chance of a good freeze after?


Sent from my iPhone using Lake Ontario United

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How a thaw affects ice quality depends on the snow cover. The scenario is this: Ice thaws from underneath, but snow can compress and form a layer of white ice over the stronger black ice. So, during an extended thaw we lose the black ice, then when it refreezes it's uneven beneath the surface and weaker overall. The white ice on top insulates the lake, too, so you don't get ice built up as fast when the temperature drops below freezing. This is an over generalization, but it gives you an idea of what can happen. Brief thaws are good because they clean up the surface for walking. Longer thaws are bad for the above reasons.

 

This winter was a perfect set up, with lots of good black ice formed prior to a heavy snow. Unfortunate for us that there's an extended February cold snap, otherwise we may have been fishing into April this year.

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An additional consideration to the great info already provided is the availability of open water anywhere on the body of water fished and it can be a long way away from the persons position on the ice. When the wind comes up  and depending on velocity, and direction it is coming from can change ice conditions underneath the surface in a matter of hours or overnight making ice that was safe the day before unsafe because of the see-sawing action of the waves created by below surface movement. This is especially possible near stream entry or outgoing points and may not be visible to the fisherman with no way to detect it.You can never take anything for granted out there and carrying a spud with you and probing the ice by the sound of it as well as the hardness as you go along is a good idea.Water on top of the ice also adds weight to it and is another reason for caution.

Edited by Sk8man
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