Saturday, February 27, 2016
Due to the high temps predicted for Saturday and potential rain on Sunday, we decided today to pull our final 2 rental houses off the lake for the season. The access will be limited this weekend to ATV's or walking only (no vehicles or permanent houses). If you are planning on coming out with your portable or fishing on a bucket, we will be here this weekend from 7 am to 6 pm. Don't forget, this is the final weekend to legally fish for walleyes, bass and northern pike. As we mentioned the other day, we close for the season after Sunday 2/28/16. After this weekend, our access will more than likely be closed due to accelerated deterioration. Have a great weekend enjoying this spring-like weather!
Thursday, February 18, 2016
We know a lot of you will be concerned about the high temps, rain and wind we are predicted to get starting this Friday, and the impact it may have on the ice. As for now, we are leaving the marina houses on the lake and will continue to rent fish houses for this weekend. We will be monitoring conditions closely, and hope that the forecast for rain remains minimal. At the moment we are not concerned about general thickness of the ice being impacted by this weekend’s weather. What we are concerned about is the potential for a normal 8 inch or 10 inch fishing hole or natural drain holes getting larger due to water draining and spiraling down those holes from high winds.
This message is meant to be advisory, rather than panic-inducing. We are advising those of you with permanent fish houses on Lake Waconia and other surrounding lakes to pay close attention to your fish houses, and make preparations to limit possible dangers. For those of you who don’t remember 1986 or the early 2000’s, there were issues with fish houses that had holes enlarge underneath them big enough to sink the fish house. While it’s unclear what exactly we’ll get for weather this weekend, we needed to explain what can happen if measures aren’t taken to prepare your fish house. Keep in mind we are basing our concerns off weather predictions for this weekend. A lot depends on how much water will be on the surface of the ice after Friday’s rain and melted snow. If there is minimal water, our concern level will be greatly diminished. If there is a lot of water after a heavy rain and snow melt, coupled with high winds, we will be on a higher alert.
If you plan to leave your fish house on the lake, we suggest banking it well to limit the amount of gaps for wind flow which can cause spiraling water down your fishing holes. If you move your house off its holes after fishing, be sure to crank it back down on small blocks and again, bank it if possible. DO NOT leave your house cranked up on its wheels anywhere on the ice (even by shore), as wind will whip under the house and potentially cause water to penetrate the ice and create a big hole. Generally, the houses that are elevated on high blocks (with big air gaps) or on their wheels are the ones that had the most problems in the past.
Our goal is to provide the best information we can to make ice use on Lake Waconia as comfortable as possible. We will continue to update here as we know more or if things change. Feel free to stop in for the latest report before traveling on the ice.
Wednesday, February 10, 2016
Good News! We now have a plowed road that goes from our marina to Pillsbury Reef and parts of Center Reef. We drilled over 100 holes today, checking areas that had lesser ice, and the recent cold helped improve it enough that the thinnest ice we found today was 9.5 inches in a few areas “under the wires” and near Center Reef. Most of the holes drilled were between 12 to 16 inches, with a few as much as 18 inches. Also, the snow has diminished greatly, as last weekend’s warm-up, followed by the heavy wind and cold, helped pack the snow down, so it’s easier to travel on the lake with 4-wheel drive. Keep in mind however, there are still several areas scattered around with large enough drifts to potentially get stuck if you are driving a 2-wheel drive car. It’s important for us to remind everyone if you go off the plowed roads or beaten paths to areas that have been generally untouched, we still suggest checking ahead of yourself before driving with anything heavy. As we always say, the ice is never safe.
As for the fishing, we continue to hear good crappie reports from the Pillsbury Reef and Wagener’s Bay locations. The deeper water bite has been strong in the late afternoon and early evening. Fishing between 20 to 24 feet of water in Wagener’s hole has been good, with most crappie action coming suspended 6 to 10 feet off the bottom. Sunfish and Perch are generally closer to the bottom and bite better daytime, although we’ve been hearing some late evening sunfish bites over there which is unusual. If you fish closer to Pillsbury Reef, find between 12 to 15 feet of water and expect daytime sunnies and perch with a chance at evening crappies. Also, you’ll have a better chance at northern pike by the weeds on Pillsbury. Waconia Bay has continued to pump out sunfish action as well as some decent keeper perch, which continues to excite us to see. A few northerns have been roaming around as well.
Don’t forget we have Rental Fish Houses on the ice ready for Rent! Weekday rates start at $69 for a 4-hole house, $79 for a 5-holer, and $95 for a 6-holer for 6 hours. Saturday & Sunday rates start at $89 for a 4-holer, $105 for a 5-holer and $125 for a 6-Hole House for 6 hours. Call (952) 442-2096 to reserve!
We want to thank those of you who have been following our ice reports, as we have been long-awaiting to get ice thick enough to plow roads on Lake Waconia. It’s been a difficult winter, with extreme variances in ice, but we appreciate your continued support! Our store hours continue to be Monday-Friday from 8 am to 6 pm and Saturday & Sunday from 7 am to 6 pm. Don’t forget, our Ice and Dice game is still going on, so weigh in your catches to see if you qualify to shake the dice for a Free Prize. We hope to see you soon! Good Luck!
Thursday, February 4, 2016
Here’s our latest update post-snow storm. We had between 8 to 10 inches of snow fall on Tuesday, which wasn’t ideal, considering our ice is still variable. Expect plenty of large drifts scattered randomly around the lake. We expect to see slushy areas in locations with lesser ice, which could pose problems for getting stuck with equipment. We drilled a lot of holes and continued to find ice ranging from 7.5 inches up to 17 inches. The area called “under the wires” (between the island and Lakeview Terrace) has the most variability with several small spots of 7.5 to 8 inches near thicker ice. The good news is, the areas of lesser ice (in the 7.5 to 8 inch range) have gotten smaller in the last week, which is encouraging.
We began plowing a road today (Thursday 2/4) to Waconia Bay and out to Cemetery Reef, as those areas had more ice. For now, that is as far as we are comfortable plowing from our marina with our heavy diesel plow truck. We will be paying attention to the roads we plowed today, to see how the weight of the surrounding snow will affect them, as there is potential for water to come up and slush them up in spots. If all goes well, and there is some improvement to the ice further out in the near future, we hope to continue the road out to Center Reef. Many anglers continue to fish in Wagener’s Bay and by Pillsbury Reef. We are still suggesting using caution over there as well. We hope to eventually have a road plowed to there from our marina, but that won’t be for some time as we incrementally get out further plowing as conditions improve. As always, drive at your own risk.