John and I arrived at Kenora from the east today. Dogtooth and the lakes in that area are still frozen, but the ice there is looking dark and weak. We did notice a few small patches of open water, including one near the south shore of Longbow Lake.
Here’s an overall view of the north part of Lake of the Woods taken when we were still quite high up.
It’s still almost all ice-covered, and at first I was disappointed that there hadn’t been more change.
But as we got closer, we started to notice the difference.
Water pushing through the Barrier Islands now extends almost to Hay Island and patches are appearing in the Hades.
Click on these pictures to see a larger image that is zoomable to full resolution.
Closer to town, the waters of the Keewatin Channel are pushing ever closer to Scotty Island.
In the photo above, Scotty Island is at the left edge. Water almost reaches the tip of the point by Scotty’s beach. Near the middle of the picture, water is opening up between Lunny’s Island and Bare Point.
This last shot was taken as we wheeled over Devil’s Gap.
When the plane is banking, I usually try to hold the camera so the pictures have a level horizon, but this time I had to snap the shot before Galt Island went entirely out of sight beneath us. That water south of Roger’s Island is new. Closer to Kenora, which is at the top right corner of this photograph, the water of Devil’s Gap is close to meeting up with the water around Coney Island, with little more than the ice road separating the two.
That suggests that the Coney Island pedestrian bridge will be coming out soon. The town removes the floating bridge when it is the only obstacle to boat traffic, that is to say, when the route is clear of ice.
I reviewed some Ice Patrol entries from recent years to see how this year compares. Both 2015 and 2016 were fairly typical years, with the Lake of the Woods totally thawed by the 3rd and 4th of May, respectively. As of now, 2017 is running a few days ahead, about equivalent to the middle of April in those years.