May 4, 2016: …Gone!

The question this morning was, is the ice all gone already? If I could spot no ice this morning, I was going to record ice-out as yesterday’s date: May 3rd.


Bigstone Bay

My thought was, if there’s ice anywhere, it will be on Bigstone Bay. I was flying with John Sweeney, who has a property out that way, and he knew it was clear. The photo above looks over Heenan Point, which was where I found the last traces of ice this time last year. No ice.

But way off to the south west…


Last Ice

There’s a patch of ice so small I circled it for you. It’s somewhere south of the Barrier Islands.

Click on the picture to zoom in and see for yourself that it’s really ice.

When we came back this afternoon, I thought it might be entirely gone, but there was a small pan hanging together by Whiteout Island.


Melting Away

It’s doomed. The weather is warm and breezy, and the ice is in an exposed stretch of water. It won’t last until midnight. Ice-out is today.

Here’s today’s shot from Terra satellite, courtesy of the University of Wisconsin at Madison.


Lake of the Woods, May 4, 2016.

Some quick orientation: Falcon Lake and West Hawk are near the top left corner. The beige patch at the top is the cleared land around Kenora that hasn’t turned green yet. Big Traverse is the big dark water at the bottom. Sioux Narrows is half way down the right edge; Long Bay is distinctive for it’s club shaped east end. The only thing I can see on this whole picture that might be ice is three shadowy shapes at the south end of Shoal Lake. Shoal always goes a day or two later than Lake of the Woods.

Across the region, Silver Lake, east of Kenora, is clear. It’s a deep lake, and always one of the last to go. At Vermillion Bay and Sioux Lookout, Eagle Lake and Wabigoon are clear. Float planes are taking to the skies. Summer has arrived.

One last shot to show all the sparkling water near Kenora.


Our Freshwater Paradise

This view looks north west along Hay Island, with Bigstone Bay on the right, Moore Bay on the left, and the Manitou in the distance on the left. At the right edge near the top is Kenora, and almost at the horizon on the left is Shoal Lake.

So that’s it. We’re much later than I expected, and actually a day later than last year. We have a fantastic stretch of warm weather coming, so happy boating. Remember to watch for float planes; they have the right of way when landing or taking off. Also, they don’t steer or stop well, so give them a wide berth when they’re on the water.

As usual, I’ll now put the Ice Patrol to bed for the remainder of the year. I’d like to thank my co-workers at Walsten Air; all of them helped.  Special thanks to the guest contributors who sent me photos, and thanks to everyone who visited, commented, emailed or followed. I’m very proud to have topped 200,000 hits in three years.

One last thing. When I’m not doing this, I write Science Fiction under the pen name of Timothy Gwyn. I’m delighted to announce that I have signed a contract with a publisher: my first novel, Avians, is scheduled for release in August of 2017. If you like, you can read more about my adventures and misadventures as a writer at my other blog, Timothy Gwyn Writes.


15 thoughts on “May 4, 2016: …Gone!

  1. Thanks very much for another amazing year of photos and comments. I hope you know how much we all appreciate your efforts.

  2. Thank you for all the interesting insights. It helped winter go away a bit more quickly, even though ice out was a day later this year! Best wishes on your book! If we missed your report, we always touched base with your wife at the Inn at lunch!

  3. Ice Captain

    Many thanks for your time and effort in keeping us cottagers up to date on ice conditions for 2016

    Bill Kinnear

    Shoal Lake and Winnipeg

  4. Thank you so much for the postings. We are north of Kenora-Hike Lake, Cache Lake, but this helps and love to see the pictures1

    Peter and Gwen Wintemute-Hike [Star] Lake.

  5. Started watching your blog a few years ago and it fascinates me to watch the natural processes that take over “my” beloved lake. So often the pictures show Scotty Island where my family has had a camp since 1934—5th generation now enjoying the bay on the southwest end. In one shot this spring I could even make out our new dock (since the nightmare of high water and storms took it out the old one in 2014) barely making a lump in the snow. Thank you for this adventure that I enjoy on my computer in Colorado. We’ll be “at home” on Scotty starting in June.

  6. There is only one left thing for us to do – time to open up BB Camp.

    Town Island – see you on Friday!!!!!!

    Thanks again, Ice Pilot! Glad your job done and ours is now beginning.

    Brenda Tessler,
    Executive Director, BB Camp

  7. Thanks again Icecaptain!
    We’re 5 hours away, planning our first trip to open up.

  8. Thanks again for another great spring season – you help make it fun for all of us. Al & Virginia Snyder

  9. Thank you so much for your patrol pictures and comments. We are snow birds and I rely on your emails to determine when we might be able to come back. It is invaluable, as we cannot drive on land to our summer residence. Thank you again and keep up the excellent work.

  10. Thank you for your posts all season. We really appreciate it. We arrived from Alberta and drove the boat up from Sioux Narrow to Yellow Girl Bay on May 3. Best wishes for a good summer. Regards Keith and Mary Anne Smitham
    Sent from my BlackBerry device on the Rogers Wireless Network

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