The Lake – The Freeze, The Snow, The Slush and The Rain

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Soon after the lake was frozen with a small amount of snow on smooth ice.

Yes, the lake froze early but it is still not safe for travel. People have walked near the edges but the ice is not strong enough, yet. Snow fell on the nice smooth ice and then a slush layer developed. All sort of normal in the freezing of a lake.The lake froze on a calm night so it looked like the skating could be great. But then there was a little snow that fell which insulated the ice. Then, more snow fell, about a foot. This snow added weight to the ice so, as when you load a boat with more stuff, it sank a bit and water seeped up through cracks. This water mixed with the snow at the ice surface and made a slush layer. This layer was a couple of inches thick. Because it had a layer of snow on top of it, the slush didn’t freeze and then, when the thaw that began on the 19th, the slush layer has reached the surface in many places.

If you live on the lake or visit on a regular basis, you see these changes. One day, the temperature rose to about 15 degrees and the wind was blowing at around 25 mph and the fluffy snow was blowing across the lake. Sometimes, there is sun, sometimes clouds. Some places freeze earlier than others and the changes are always interesting. At the present time, the lake is unsafe for travel. That will change but there will always be the “normal” places that don’t freeze well or at all some years. Until it is well frozen, don’t go out and if you do, take some spikes for your hands so that you pull yourself out. Don’t be a statistic!

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The patterns of snow, smooth ice and areas that had a little slush when the ice froze.


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Area near Brummit Island that didn’t freeze until three or four days after most of the lake.


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A bit of a breeze blowing snow past West Jockey Cap.



The present state of slush on the lake. It will freeze up before Christmas but the slush will persist.



  1. MinkIs

    Made the snowshoe trip from Holden Shore to Mink Island today. We tested the ice with a long ice chisel every 100 yards or so and the thinnest ice we found (9″) was in the middle of the sister ledges. Everywhere else was approximately 12″. An absolutely perfect winter day on the lake. Happy New Year to all!

  2. MinkIs

    Ventured about 300 yards off of Gene’s Beach today towards Mink Island. Cut a hole in the ice and measured about 11″ of ice. We were running out of daylight so headed back but plan to make it all the way to Mink tomorrow. Perfect winter day on the lake.

    1. Peter

      As always, realize that the ice can be thick in some places and not others. 11 inches of ice is thick enough for most travel but you have to watch out for springs and pressure cracks. Having self rescue devices is always a good plan – something sharp to get you out on top of the ice.

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