We did a more extensive ice check on Tuesday, 12/9, drilling and checking over 200 holes. We covered Waconia Bay, "Under the Wires", Center, Pillsbury and Wagener's Bay, as these areas are currently the most used fishing spots on the lake. It's important to know that we are always looking for the worst ice we can find, therefore the majority of our drilling is in snow-covered ice, which is generally less than the clear "black" ice.
We started in Waconia Bay, and found a lot of 8 to 10 inches, with a top-end of 12 inches in the clear, snow-less ice. Then continued on to "Under the wires" (between the south peninsula of the Lakeview Terrace and the island), where there was as little as 7 inches of ice under snow drifts and up to 11 inches of ice where there was no snow. A little north of "Under the Wires" was a small area of 4.25 to 5 inches which was the worst ice found of the day. As you continue even further north of that, the ice got very jagged (where the wind broke up chunks while the ice formed, which froze in a jagged manner creating sharp pointed edges). A lot of that jagged ice was around 6.5 to 8 inches. These locations are northwest of the island, but east of where our road usually goes to Center, which gives you reference for the future.
We then headed a little west on the way to Harms Point to the area we usually have a road, and found a lot of 8 to 10 inches with a little bit of 7 inches mixed in. From there we went north to Center Reef and had a variety of ice there as well. We could drill in one popular location and find a spot with as little as 6 inches, and 10 feet away measure a hole in clear, snow-free ice that was up to a 12 inches.
If you're sensing a theme, you are right. It didn't matter where we went today, the ice greatly varied. It's easy to get excited when you see 10 to 12 inches of ice in locations you want to get to. We are excited to see those thicknesses too, but it was clear to us today, that most areas with those thicknesses also had plenty of ice mixed in between 6.5 to 9 inches as well.
Pillsbury was much the same. There are certainly plenty of locations there that had 9 to 12 inches, but had 7 to 8 mixed in. We went from Pillsbury to the south toward the Wagener's Bay access. We drilled in several locations where snowmobiles and 4-wheelers have made tracks going to and from those locations. Where there was little-to-no snow, we found 10 to 12 inches of ice. The closer we got to the terrace, there was more drifting of snow, so as you can expect, there was a lot of 7 to 9 inches of ice (with as little as 6.25 inches found 40 feet from shore).
We are very happy we have ice that we can use to 4-wheel and snowmobile on. While it's tempting for some to want to drive your car or truck out there, we are not recommending it and won't be allowing vehicles through our access for the time being. No one wants driveable ice more than we do at the marina, but we will continue to be patient and wait for the ice to get a little thicker before we drive.
In the mean time, we'll keep you posted on the ice as the warmth of the weekend draws near. If you have a permanent fish house on the lake, it would be a good idea to keep a close eye on it this weekend.
As for the bite, it was a good weekend for northern pike fishing for those who took advantage of the mild weather. The pic of the weekend was by twins Connor and Tanner Besse who each had a nice northern and won prizes playing our FREE Ice and Dice game. Waconia Bay was a good location for some of this action. Walleyes were also decent as well. We had some keepers over 16 inches caught from the walleye hole between the marinas, as well as Waconia Bay and parts of Center. Sunfish and crappies continue to bite, although as expected, sorting needs to happen to get keepers. Pillsbury is a great go-to spot for panfish as well.