BWCA Fishing Corner – Winter Waiting

BWCA Fishing Corner – Winter Waiting

Boundary Waters – Winter Waiting For Perfect BWCA Ice

When it comes to ideal BWCA ice conditions, just like canoeing the Boundary Waters, or fishing the un-paddle-able hard water, we rarely get what some would consider “perfect” conditions. For ice fishing and winter travel in the woods, and on the lakes, folks up north always hope for, in a perfect scenario, a real good cold spell. The cold spell makes some good clear (solid) ice of at least 4 or 5 inches before large amounts of snow.

Thin ice Boundary Waters

Perfect ice conditions like this…are not as common as you think.

Slushing Up

As the snow piles up, the lakes “slush up”.  This year, some of the small lakes froze up good, but many of the bigger lakes took much longer than first thought. Thinner ice along with larger amounts of snow causes pressure cracks to form. Water then seeps up onto the top of the ice, mixes with the snow and creates slush! Until we get really cold again and that slush freezes, that slush makes it far less than pleasant to be walking across the lakes, or to be standing in, to fish. Several of the big lakes have questionable ice thickness making it tough to be comfortable with the extra weight of a 4-wheeler or snowmobile.

One interesting observation with one of the recent bigger snowfalls was the rise of the creek near the the Williams and Hall base. Unlike runoff from a heavy rain filling the creeks, the weight of the snow pushed down on the ice of a couple small lakes that flow into Moose Lake…literally forcing the water out of the lakes (at beaver dams) and into a creek that feeds Moose Lake.

Quality Fishing or Warmth – That is the Question…

I’m not above conceding to (after snow removal operations), warm, dry indoor activities like fly tying, fishing equipment organizing (again), or just enjoying the beauty of all the fresh new snow. The dog sure doesn’t mind.  Quality ice fishing is on tap right now, we just need to figure out the best “routes” to take for enjoyable time on the lakes.

In the meantime, we’ll just have to seek out the small, well frozen lakes and deal with the slush if necessary. …the price we pay to get a couple winter walleyes, eh?

winter bwca walleye

A few eatin’ size walleyes on ice

Be safe on the ice!


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