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rtwvumtneer6

Time it takes a lake to thaw?

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Be warned... This is a dangerous combination of not fishing in the last month, mixed with curiosity.

 

I know there must be a thousand and one factors into guessing when a lake might thaw out, but I'm hoping someone out there who is smarter than me can tell me if this is realistic, or if I'm going to be very disappointed.

 

My local county lake is about 65 acres.  Average depth of about 6 feet, with the deepest area 17-18ft.  As of last week, the ice was 6" (or so the guy standing on it drilling holes told me).  This week we have 5 days of temps 50-60°F and lows at night in the high 30s and low 40s.  They are also calling for 3 days of rain during that period, follow by partly sunny conditions.

 

Is there any chance I might see some water open up?! Fingers crossed.

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As you said, there’s a lot of factors.(snow cover, clear solid ice vs white ice, Dark bottom, wind, current) 

 

If you’re getting a ton of rain then perhaps it will open up, especially if there’s a good sized tributary carrying runoff into the small lake. High winds really break it up. If it doesn’t melt, buy an auger 😉 good luck!

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I hate to be the bearer of bad news but in my experience, lakes always take longer to melt than I expect. Hopefully you’ll beat the odds. Certain smaller bodies of water melt much faster than others so you can always check smaller ponds first. 

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6" of solid, clear ice seems like you need at least 2 weeks of 50-60 with above freezing temps at night to thaw a lake. Warm rain and wind can help, but it always takes longer than it seems like it should. That ice is sitting in very cold water and those high temps are only for an hour or two a day, the majority of the day is much closer to the low temps and the ice is melting very little. Combine that with the fact that the days are short and it makes it take a while. 

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Time it takes a lake to thaw?

 

BatmanForeverTitle.jpg(sorry - but it does seem to feel that way most years)

:smiley:

A-Jay

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1 hour ago, A-Jay said:

Time it takes a lake to thaw?

 

BatmanForeverTitle.jpg(sorry - but it does seem to feel that way most years)

:smiley:

A-Jay

First I laughed, and then I cried.  

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Forever X1000 here!

It seems like around the third week of March I start “hoping”, but it always takes about 4 months longer than I’d like for the ice to melt. 

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Wind and fog are your friend.

The lake I fish the most historically opens around 4/1, give or take..

 

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5 minutes ago, FishTank said:

4-5 days of 50 degree weather and then the crappie are biting. 

Maybe in your neck of the woods. Here it takes a few weeks or more of above freezing temps to melt all the ice.

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I'm always curious about this starting about now. We had a few days in the upper 50's here and still didn't melt it all, and we only had a few inches.

 

Ice transfers heat away from the water underneath it, so the time to thaw is usually significantly slower than the time to freeze over....unfortunately.

 

....I'm ready 

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10 hours ago, Preytorien said:

I'm always curious about this starting about now. We had a few days in the upper 50's here and still didn't melt it all, and we only had a few inches.

 

Ice transfers heat away from the water underneath it, so the time to thaw is usually significantly slower than the time to freeze over....unfortunately.

 

....I'm ready 

Three inches of rain should do the trick.

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Doesn't the sun (length of day) play a substantial role here?

 

In eager anticipation of fishing I check this site almost daily: https://www.timeanddate.com/sun/usa

 

Plug in your city (or the largest nearby city) and it pulls up everything you need to know about the sun and how it impacts your location (exactly when Astronomical, Nautical, and Civil twilight begin/end on any given day, etc). Also has detailed moon cycle info if you fish at night or fish for walleye or whatever.

 

What excites me is that we're now gaining 2+ minutes of sunlight everyday here. It doesn't seem like much but it adds up fast. In the 28 days of February we will gain just over 1 hour of sunlight. Ice and frigid waters can only tolerate so much solar radiation...

 

Local conditions aside, the days are rapidly getting longer and the sun has more and more time to do it's thing. This keeps me encouraged. 

 

DelIAC7.png

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Main factors:

-Sun angle and day length: With February comes a rapid increase in both.

-Water depth: The shallower the water, the more latent heat from the ground beneath the water will weigh in. Shallow waters often thaw as much from below, as above.

-Rain does a good job of melting ice.

-Wind/Current: Wind is often what causes final break up. Water motion in general, both keeps ice from forming, or breaks it up.

-Waterfowl! As the photoperiod increases, birds respond. Geese begin to pair up and just can't wait for the ice to disappear under their feet. They help it out quite a bit by breaking through and once in, by keeping the water moving. A good flock of ducks and geese can keep a pond open through some pretty serious cold.

 

My prognostication (from a 1000mi away)?

 

Data:

-That's a pretty shallow lake -a lot like most of mine. Good news.

-E PA; Not TOO far north. Good news.

-6 inches, or more? Hasn't it been mighty cold there? Hmmmmm...

-65acres; big enough to take some wind. Had any?

-With a deeper end, is it dammed? Might there be current moving through it? Many inlets?

 

Prediction:

If you are OK with partial ice cover, a few open areas to fish in, you may be wetting a line. Otherwise, you'll need a few more days of that balmy weather. You can take solace in the fact that ice-out is close, regardless of what happens next week. ("Solace" comes from "Sol", referring to the sun. See #1 above). :)

 

 

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14 hours ago, The Bassman said:

Three inches of rain should do the trick.

Yes, that means you and I will be seeing thaw by weekend just in time for the cold weather to come back around! Hah

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Have you tried throwing big rocks onto the ice to break it up. As kids we use to do this starting around mid March and by the end of April most of the ice was gone. 

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19 minutes ago, Gundog said:

Have you tried throwing big rocks onto the ice to break it up. As kids we use to do this starting around mid March and by the end of April most of the ice was gone. 

Funny you mention this, when I was younger my buddy and I used to launch our 16’ tin boat into the river that ran into our large, frozen lake, usually this was in early April. We’d drive out as far as we could, then run circles to break up as much ice as we could with our wake. The next day we’d troll the much larger open water area for early spring lake trout. 

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45 minutes ago, Preytorien said:

Yes, that means you and I will be seeing thaw by weekend just in time for the cold weather to come back around! Hah

Oh yeah... Gusts around 25mph Friday morning and one of those wonderful days that get colder as the day goes on.  If any areas do open up, I can probably stay long enough to watch them freeze again.  The weather here really plays with my emotions.  

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8 hours ago, Gundog said:

Have you tried throwing big rocks onto the ice to break it up. As kids we use to do this starting around mid March and by the end of April most of the ice was gone. 

Seems like you'd run out of rocks in a month and a half.

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4 hours ago, The Bassman said:

Seems like you'd run out of rocks in a month and a half.

There was always one kid who wanted to be in our group. We'd send him out to retrieve the rocks so we could use them again. Sometimes he would help break up the ice in his own way. 

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I did a lake check each day this week after being in the 50's here in central PA.

Monday-Locked up. 0% open water.  3-4" on the edge and only a few probe holes in the ice that people thought better of.

Tuesday-Locked up. 0% open water but water pooling on top of the ice.

Wednesday- 15% open water.  Main lake opened up around bridges where current and wind impacted the ice. Ramps and coves still locked up.

Thursday-35% open water.  Could launch a boat and cast from shore in some areas.  It felt good to make some cast.

Friday- 25 mph winds and rain should make things better.

Tomorrow- Back to a low of 17.....yuck.

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31 minutes ago, rtwvumtneer6 said:

Water was all the way up to 43°F this afternoon!  Another 10° and the real fun should start👍🏻

DUDE ! 

You have open water ???    GO FISHING --- NOW ! ! ! !

You do not need or even want warmer water - the Giants are sitting there waiting for you.

You might have even missed it ! 

Tie on a jerkbait and get after it . . . 

Maybe it's just me . . .Sorry.

But really - go fishing. 

:smiley:

A-Jay

 

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On 2/6/2019 at 6:16 PM, Paul Roberts said:

If you are OK with partial ice cover, a few open areas to fish in, you may be wetting a line. Otherwise, you'll need a few more days of that balmy weather. You can take solace in the fact that ice-out is close, regardless of what happens next week. ("Solace" comes from "Sol", referring to the sun. See #1 above). :)

 

 

Im in southern Vermont, and I have caught fish in set backs of rivers with sheets  of ice cover slowly working a jig or a jerkbait. Really slow! I always assume ice out date to be around mid April, some years are earlier, not this year :(

Edited by BassDude802
I suck at typing
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