Lengthy cold snap doesn’t mean all ice is safe

After 10 days or so of freeze-your-beard-off weather, it would seem that anything that can freeze (toes, fingers, your car’s engine, lakes, ponds) would have done so.

Back in December, Green Lake in Dedham was still open near Jenkins Beach. The lake reportedly froze over on Dec. 29, but anglers and snowmobilers should still exercise caution. (BDN photo by John Holyoke)

But as I enjoyed a week off from work during the holidays, I had a conversation with a game warden who’s hoping that folks won’t assume their local fishing hole is safely covered with plenty of ice.

The problem, he explained, is that the extreme cold arrived after the first substantial snowstorm in many parts of the state had dropped an insulating layer of the white stuff on barely frozen surfaces.

And because of that, many of those lakes are freezing up a lot more slowly than some other objects (like our fingers and toes).

Still, it’s hard to wrap your head around the fact that lakes might not be safe after such a miserably cold stretch.

But on Saturday afternoon, I received seemingly overdue news from a lake-dwelling friend, Billy Lander of Dedham.

His “home” water, Green Lake, had finally frozen over the night before … after a solid week of below-zero temps.

Notice I say it “froze over.” Not that it “froze over safely.” It’s up to each of us to check the ice carefully on any lake we decide to fish.

But there does seem to be some good news: Up in Aroostook County, another lake-dweller checked in on the same day I’d heard from Lander.

Up on Long Lake in Madawaska, Rich Rossignol reported he found 15 inches of great ice in front of his home when he set up his ice cabin for the season.

An important reminder: That’s how thick the ice was in front of his house. As they say, your mileage may vary.

Be safe, and have fun. And if you have any great fishing photos to share with BDN readers, you can reach me at jholyoke@bangordailynews.com.



John Holyoke

About John Holyoke

John Holyoke has been enjoying himself in Maine's great outdoors since he was a kid. Today, he's the Outdoors editor for the BDN, a job that allows him to meet up with Maine outdoors enthusiasts in their natural habitat. The stories he gathers provide fodder for his columns, and this blog.