We got through another January warm-up mostly unscathed. Lake conditions remain surprisingly good. While we lost almost all our snow and a little ice off the top, we are still finding between 14.5 to 18 inches of ice on Lake Waconia. Last weekend there was 2-3 inches of water scattered on the low spots of ice, but now it has mostly either drained off or frozen back to the surface. Our previous road has some water on it yet and is bumpy, so we recommend going off road for now.
If you notice anything marked with lath board sticks or pine boughs, it is marking a drain hole that is more of a walking hazard, but worth avoiding with a vehicle as well. Those should heal up soon with the colder temps. We also marked a small pressure ridge between Center and North Center Reefs as well. The active spring we’ve mentioned in the past, remains open still and is marked well. All in all, we continue to be happy with the overall ice conditions. As we always say, we cannot guarantee ice and it is never 100% safe, but we continue to keep our access open for those like us who want to drive.
There are variable forecasts for snow the next day and half. Reports are saying we may get anywhere from 2 up to 8 inches. Depending on the amount of snow and potential high winds on Wednesday, if necessary we likely will not be plowing until later in the week when winds settle down.
As for fishing, it has been a very good bite for sunfish during the day on Pillsbury and Center Reefs as well as Waconia Bay. 12 to 14 feet of water has been working well. Plenty have been caught on wax worms and small jigs. Crappies have been caught in some of those same areas in the early evening. They have also been found in the deep water of Wagener’s Bay in 20 to 24 feet of water, although biting less consistent than the previous winters.
The surprise this winter has been the northern pike bite. We’ve had plenty of activity reported on tip-ups with small to medium sucker minnows. Some anglers have caught them on their panfish rods as well, using good skill to finesse them up the hole.
We have seen a nice walleye bite this winter as well. The best bite has come during the overnight hours on set-lines with shiners, but jigging with fatheads has been productive as well during the evening. A variety of sizes have been caught with several mid-to-upper-20 inch size fish, many released. Most walleye anglers are having their best success getting away from the larger groups to avoid the crowd noise.
It should be a busy, fun lake this weekend with the Midwest Vintage Snowmobile “Waconia Ride-In” event that starts Friday 1/27 and runs through Sunday 1/29/17. The Sno Jet and Kawasaki are the featured snowmobiles this year! It’s always fun watching the vintage snowmobiles from different eras parade around Lake Waconia. With cooler temps and impending snowfall, it should be a good weekend to check it out! Stop in to the marina to warm up, have a hot chocolate or coffee and shoot the breeze.
See you on the lake!
p.s. here's the link to the Vintage Snowmobile site...