Ice fishermen in Wisconsin are currently hoping for weather conditions similar to those currently being experienced by their counterparts in upper Minnesota and North Dakota.
After-all, our neighbors to the west have been fishing many of their smaller lakes for over a week on 5-7” of the beautiful first ice of the season.
WHEN WILL IT HAPPEN??
Ice cover on our lakes will occur when the daily average temperatures remain below the freezing point (0 degrees Celsius/32 degrees Fahrenheit).
The lakes temperate structure becomes conducive to ice formation when the surface temperatures of the water reach this freezing point and the denser water at the bottom remains 4 degrees celsius or 39 degrees Fahrenheit.
When colder air is provided consistently the water does not fall below 32 degrees–instead–ice forms!
The 4 enemies of an ice fisherman hoping for first ice are found below:
Waterfowl: Migrating waterfowl including ducks, geese, and seagulls are notorious for delaying the formation of ice on many local lakes as they often stop to rest/sleep on the water. The body heat from these birds combined with the turbulence created as they swim and drift about, disrupts the physics involved in the ice bonding process.
Wind: Wind blowing across the water’s surface creates natural current. This agitates the molecular structure of the water and interferes with the bonding process. It’s certainly not helpful when water is attempting to move from a liquid to a solid state.
A Warming Forecast: Mother Nature is filled with ebbs and flows that impede the formation of first ice.
I think the running joke in Wisconsin goes…
Olie: Nice weather we’re having
Sven: Yeah hey…it’s Wisconsin…just wait 5 minutes
There’s something about an impending southern wind bringing a warm front across Wisconsin that makes an ice fisherman’s blood…boil
Precipitation: An Ice Fishermen’s preparation can move into high gear for the season once a layer of skim ice has formed on his or her favorite early-season ice fishing location.
However, an unwelcome blast of snow or rain can postpone an ice fisherman’s plans to venture after their first catch of the season pretty quickly.
The rain and snow that accumulates on the surface of the water or atop that all-important layer of skim ice serves as a layer of insulation which effectively delays the process of water crystalizing at the freezing point.
We patiently wait and dream of safe ice conditions to fish on…
I guess I may have Christmas shopping done on time this year!
Chad Leton's blog is an extension of his youth fishing guide service, HookedUp101 Fishing Academy