When will the ice go out?

After what everyone thought was going to be a record ice-out, it turns out the ice will go out around the normal expected time.

Back in March, after a fairly warm winter, the snow had melted and it was way above normal temperatures in Northwest Ontario. Everyone, myself included, speculated that it would be a record ice-out year. After all, the ice wasn't as thick as it has been in the past and March was so warm we even put on shorts.

Fast forward to April and WHAT HAPPENED?? Ugh, a few weeks of below average temps. We were actually making ice at night!! So much for our record ice-out. 

It will turn out to be about an average ice-out year though. It just was kind of disappointing after we all had such high hopes of getting out on open water early. 

So, how are the lakes doing? Is there still ice you ask? 

Some of the smaller lakes have completely gone out. We had a stong wind a few days ago and it really helped to break up the remaining ice on those lakes. 

Here are some photos of the lakes in Sunset Country taken the last week of April.

I'll start with the southern part of Sunset Country.

Rainy Lake Boat Taxi gives this update on Rainy Lake on April 26, 2016

"Well, just got back from a long boat and have a awesome report. Went east over by Windy Point and the Mermaid and made the loop through Sand Bay and seen no sign of ice. 

The North Arm is a different story. The ice line is about a 1/2 mile north of the Causeway. We did manage to slip to the west side of Steeprock Island and make it a bit further then the ice stopped us. I think that Stanji is open and likely Grassy Narrows out the north end of Stanji will be open.Val from McDonalds Inlet reports that she made it to Donna's today with some resistance but she made it. Donna reports that it's still froze tight to the South and West of her place. I think the ice should be all gone on the weekend or the beginning of next week."

The picture above shows some ice pushed on the island just north of Steeprock.

Valerie Crowe pushes through the ice on Rainy Lake.

Gateway North Outfitters took a flight on April 26th to check out their outpost lakes. Many of the smaller lakes were open, with the bigger, deeper lakes with some ice left. Here are a few of their outpost lakes. Check out more of their photos of the lakes on Gateway North's Facebook page

Otukamamoan (Trout) Lake above shows both ice and open water. 

Fishtrap Lake (pictured above) is completely clear of ice.

Highrock Lake (pictured above) is also completely clear. 

The ice on Lower Manitou (pictured above) is starting to turn black. It is one of the last lakes this part of Sunset Country to have ice. It will be a bit yet before it is ice free.

The ice breaking up in front of Buena Vista Resort in Morson on Lake of the Woods on April 21. Now, a week later it is gone. 

Crow Lake ( Kakagi) in the Nestor Falls area on April 26th 2016. Muskie Bay Resort feels like it will be next week before ice goes completely out. 

Here's an aerial shot (above) of Crow Lake looking east taken by Northwest Flying Inc. on the same day.  

The above photo shows Crow Lake taken on April 27, one day later.

Northwest Flying Inc. also took photos of some of other lakes around Nestor Falls. To see ones that are not shown below visit the Northwest Flying Inc. Facebook page

Hector Lake (above) on April 26. It is now likely ice free. 

Taken by Northwest Flying Inc. on April 26, you can see there's still ice on Rowan Lake. You can see some open water right near Nielsen's Fly-in Lodge

Atikwa Lake (above) still shows ice on April 26.

Look at all that blue! This is Nestor Falls. You can see Northwest Flying's base in the bottom right hand side of the photo. 

Sioux Narrows, pictured above shows some ice on April 26. 

Here's a satellite photo from April 26 of Lake of the Woods marked by Crawford's Camp in Sioux Narrows. Matt has labelled some major points in Whitefish Bay. You can see that some areas to the MN border are open and ready but around Whitefish Bay we are still covered in ice. Areas around Whitefish Narrows, Snake Bay, Knickerbocker Inlet, Sioux Narrows Bridge, Reed Narrows Bridge, Some areas of Long bay are all open. Whitefish Bay is covered as of yet. But this is promising. If we can get a little weather then this will open right up.

Dryberry, a clear, deep lake still had lot's of ice on it on April 26. Photo by Northwest Flying Inc. 

Heading up to Kenora, there's no better place to find out the ice conditions than a blog called www.icepatrol.ca. Tim Armstrong, who works for Walsten Air, takes photos of the lakes around Kenora to show the ice-out progress. 

Above, Tim shows Gordon Island, Matheson Bay April 25.

Tim notes "Connor Island and Gordon Island are just above the nose of the King Air in this picture, and Matheson Bay is the water in the right foreground. The ice looks thin and weak there.

Powerful wind made a big difference today, even though the temperatures have struggled to get close to seasonal norms. When I walked around Rabbit Lake on Sunday morning, it was 90% frozen with just a narrow belt of water along the shoreline. As we landed this afternoon, it looked open, and so did Laurenson’s Lake. Round Lake still had about 50% rotten ice."

Tim went flying again on April 27 and there was definite improvements since the 25th. Looking southwest towards Clearwater Bay and Shoal Lake you can see both lakes are still pretty white though. Check out Tim's blog for more ice-out updates for the Kenora area

Cygnet Lake Camp arrived to camp on April 26 and were welcome with open water!

There is lots of open water along the shore and the ice is looking very black. This is the beach at K.C.'s Landing Resort on Edward Lake. UPDATE: Official ice-out day was April 27 on Edward Lake. Cedar Lake should follow close behind. For more updates on Clark's Resorts and their outpost lakes follow their Facebook page.

The ice is looking pretty grey and has pulled away from the shore at Eagle Lake Sportsmen's Lodge on Eagle Lake. 

Ignace Outposts keeps everyone updated on the ice conditions on Agimak Lake where their sea base is located in Ignace. April 6 saw about 4" of heavy, wet snow! On April 24th, the lake was about half open. The strong east winds that day should have broken up and pushed the rest away. Follow Ignace Outposts on Facebook to see when their outpost lakes open up. 

I look at this photo and think of kids waiting in front of a candy store that's about to open. Most of the planes on the ice here in front of the Red Lake Seaplane base will take off on floats off the ice and land on the open water in the river! Howey Bay Resort right next to the base reports that as of April 27th, there's still a foot of ice on the lake.

So, there you have it. Some of the smaller or southern lakes in Sunset Country are open and they larger and deeper lakes still have a week or so to go. The most northern lakes may be another two weeks. 

At any rate, all will be open for the opening of walleye season on May 21!!

About Erin Rody

I grew up on Black Sturgeon Lake in Northwestern Ontario. I am a staff writer for the Sunset Country Travel Association. Through my articles I hope to entice you to visit the wonderful region I call home. We are all about outdoor adventure; with 70,000 lakes and rivers and a whole lot of forests how can we not be? Whether you like to fish, hunt, canoe, kayak, boat or go camping, Sunset Country has something for you. Enjoy!

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