May 8, 2023: Ice Update

Lots of people took the time to let me know what the ice was doing in different places. Here they are in approximately south to north order.

  • Gordy Streiff and George Marvin checked in separately from Warroad: both reported that Muskeg Bay is full of dark wet ice, but that fog makes it hard to see how much. George thought it looked pretty thick and would take more than a day to melt.
  • Allison says that Taylor Bay, east of Bigsby Island, has been clear since May 5th, and Big Traverse was clear as far as they could see as of yesterday evening.
  • According to Michelle, the Morson Facebook page called ice-out there on May 5th.
  • I checked the Flag Island Webcam this evening and could not see any ice.
  • Bob Lemnus said the Young’s Bay boat ramp cam at the Northwest Angle had shown open water for two or three days, but then candled ice and some slabs blew in in the early afternoon today. He didn’t think it could be too much, as boats had been able to arrive and depart.
  • Kelly Belair didn’t go flying yesterday, but one of his friends did, and reported that in the area of Queer Island, he didn’t find any ice anywhere.
  • Geoff Stevenson visited Clearwater Bay. “We were at Clearwater Bay yesterday to view the new docks [and] boardwalk being put in at Pye’s Landing.  As far as we could see down Clearwater bay, Deception bay and around the Rockeries was clear.”
  • Craig Holmstrom is a year-round resident of Stull Island on Shoal Lake. He says: “Lots of ice here still. It’s melting along the south shore of our island but to the north all I can see is ice. It usually opens on the south end of the lake but the Center remains frozen for another 3-5 days before we can access civilization.

I did get a couple of pictures, too. Here’s Dave Kerr’s image from his dock cam on Wolf Island, looking out at Whisky Island on the Manitou.

Wolf Island dock cam image of the Manitou from this afternoon.

You can tell from the flag which way any ice would have went.

Dwight Nick also sent some pictures.

He first tried to get to camp on the east side of Scotty Island on Saturday, but turned back due to heavy ice.

Ice on Bigstone Bay near Scotty Island on Saturday, May 6.

Ice between Scotty Island and Middle Island prevented them from getting through there, nor could they enter the Hades. They had no luck going around the west end of Scotty, either.

He tried again on Sunday, and the situation was completely different.

View into Bigstone Bay from the east end of Scotty Island on Sunday, May 7.

I think that might be Kipling Island in the middle of the picture, but I’m just guessing from the map.

Heartfelt thanks to everyone who wrote in. For brevity, I paraphrased some of the comments. I hope I didn’t alter the meaning of what anyone said.

So in summary, most of the lake is clear except for some wind-driven loose ice in western bays such as Muskeg Bay by Warroad, and at the Northwest Angle. Shoal Lake still has ice, but it’s not unusual for ice there to last two or three days longer than on Lake of the Woods.

Naturally, all this wet weather is also raising lake levels. While things are much more reasonable than last year, the Lake of the Woods Control Board is increasing flow through the Norman Dam to try and bring things down to ‘preferred levels’ for this time of year. From the link above you can navigate to their Notice Board for the full details.

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