Wednesday, December 28, 2016

In Towne Marina Lake Waconia Ice Report - 12/28/16

A quick reminder that we OPEN for the season Thursday at 8 am!  We did an extended ice check earlier today (12/28) on Lake Waconia.  We spent a couple of hours on our ATV and punched holes out to Waconia Bay, “Under the Wires”, Center Reef, Pillsbury Reef, the Wagener’s Bay crappie hole, Harms Point, the west, south and east sides of Coney Island, Cemetery Reef and the walleye hole between the marinas.  We found lots of ice ranging between 7 to 8 inches in each location.  We found as little as 6.5 inches and as much as 10 inches (keep in mind the 10 inch locations were few and far between, and had a larger percentage of cloudy, less strong ice as the top layer).  We are very happy with our findings today, but continue to suggest paying close attention as always. 

During our check, we headed over to one of the areas we monitor each year for active springs, and discovered that it is active yet again.  This spring is located between Cemetery and Anderson’s reefs in deep water and is open and bubbling (with a small, but dangerous area of about 5 foot by 5 foot).  We marked the periphery of it with lath board and caution tape, so keep an eye out for that.  Lake Waconia has had other active springs in the past, so keep a look out for anything strange and help us by marking these locations if you find them.  We mention this, as a cautionary tale that all ice is never completely safe and to always check ahead of yourself.

All in all, we are thrilled with the condition of the ice we have checked, despite the active spring we found.  At this point, we are suggesting walking or if you need transport, don’t ride anything bigger than an ATV or snowmobile.  We’d like a few more inches before we consider using the big stuff!  See you at the lake!

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

In Towne Marina Lake Waconia Ice Report - 12/27/16 - BAIT SHOP OPENS Thursday, 12/29!

We did a quick ice check today (12/27/16) in front of the marina and it was clear that Santa granted the Christmas wishes of all Lake Waconia ice fishermen!  The Christmas rain/wind storm did exactly what we needed it to, which was to melt and saturate all the snow, adding inches of ice to the already existing ice as it got cold.  While the ice isn’t the clear “black” ice we all want, it is much stronger than typical slush ice.  We measured around 7 to 8 inches in several holes we drilled today, with freeboard in every hole.  We still advise to check ahead of yourself, as we haven’t covered much of the lake yet.  We will be doing a more extensive check tomorrow (Wednesday).  Because of this great news of improved ice, we will be opening for the season on Thursday, 12/29!  Hours will be Monday thru Friday, 8 am to 6 pm and Saturday/Sunday from 7 am to 6 pm.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

In Towne Marina Lake Waconia Ice Report - 12/22/16

We wanted to give you a quick update of Lake Waconia ice conditions today in front of our marina, 12/22. There has been no change in ice thickness in the past 3 days. However, the depth of the existing snow has diminished greatly since our last report, due to temps pushing 40 degrees, sunshine and wind. Melting snow, of course means more slush on the surface, which makes things difficult for the short-term, but isn’t bad news if we can get a couple of days of deep cold weather next week, and avoid any more measurable snow. If the Christmas storm stays rain as predicted, the ice will be sloppy, but will have a chance to heal and get thicker more quickly if the cold temps come, preferably in the single digits at night. We will continue to stay temporarily closed while we wait for better conditions. We’ll update Monday or Tuesday of next week and hope to report better news.

Have a Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 19, 2016

In Towne Marina Lake Waconia Ice Report - 12/19/16

As promised, we took another Lake Waconia ice walk today, 12/19.  We apologize for the audio quality of the video at the end, but it's visually a good representation of what to expect on the lake right now.  This time we went a little further to the middle of the Waconia Bay weedline. As we expected, the 2nd round of snow we received this past Friday and Saturday continued to slow the ice-making process, even though temps dipped in the -20’s at night. We are now finding snow measuring 6 to 10 inches deep, with areas of slush that have 1 to 2 (or more) inches of water above the ice.  Granted, there are plenty of non-slush areas right now, but the minute you drill a hole, expect to be surrounded by about an inch or more of water.  As for the ice itself, we were seeing a consistent 4 to 4-1/4 inches of clear black ice in the number of holes we drilled.  There are some areas of ice where the previous cracks had been flooded and re-frozen that you can find more thickness of mixed ice (black ice with frozen slush), or layered ice (original black ice with a layer of water and an inch to 2 inch top layer of frozen slush).  Needless to say, it’s a mixed bag of ice depending on where you go.  The one common theme is the snow.  If you’re looking to scratch your ice fishing itch, getting out will be a difficult haul.  At this time we are ONLY recommending walking, and caution you to check ahead of yourself (as we have checked very little of the lake as of yet).  Due to the difficulty of comfortably getting on and off the lake with fishing gear and a mild week of weather that will stunt ice growth even more, our bait shop will remain closed through this Christmas weekend as we wait for better ice conditions to come.  Our next update is likely to come this Thursday or Friday.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

In Towne Marina Lake Waconia Ice Report - 12/15/16

We went for another quick Lake Waconia ice walk today.  As we expected, the previous snow hampered ice growth.  We started our walk in the same area as the other day, and worked our way to the west in front of the marina. Since the 12th, we have gained about 1-1/4 inches in 3 days despite the extreme cold, for an average of about 3-3/4 total inches in the limited path we walked.  Also, there are several cracks (gray areas) going in all directions.  The edges of those areas have less ice, as water spewed up and blowing snow drifted up in those locations, leading to lesser ice.  With predictions of 6 to 10 inches of more snow from Friday through Saturday morning, we expect even more changes to the ice, with slush potentially being a common theme across the lake.  With Sunday being dangerously cold, we likely will not be doing any further ice checking until at least Monday afternoon.  Our bait shop will remain closed for now.  Thanks for your patience while we wait for the ice to improve.

Monday, December 12, 2016

In Towne Marina Lake Waconia Ice Report - 12/12/16

We took our first short ice walk on Lake Waconia today, 12/12/16.  Despite the extreme cold, the snow we received on Saturday and Sunday has stunted ice growth for now.  We stopped our check after only walking out about 50 to 75 yards from shore.  Ice thicknesses were in the 2-1/4 to 2-1/2” range, which is not enough for us to comfortably continue.  Unfortunately, snow is a great insulator.  We found that accumulations were 6 to 9 inches and fluffy, which adds to the insulating factor hampering ice growth.  The weight of the snow is not helping as it stresses the ice, diminishing its’ strength. Also, when you punch a hole, water is forced up (there is no freeboard) creating a slushy area which can cause its’ own set of problems for future ice growth. Due to the minimal gains expected in the near future, we likely will not be updating again until Thursday.  Our bait shop will remain closed until the lake is in better shape.  Let’s all keep our fingers crossed we have better information to report for our next update.