No ice yet in northern Wisconsin, but it’s not far off

Even the smallest of northern Wisconsin lakes were without ice as recently as Tuesday, Dec. 6. This small Vilas County lake had only a skim of ice in a “beaver ditch” leading off the lake. photo by Dean Bortz

As of the morning of Wednesday, Dec. 7, most northern Wisconsin lakes were still wide open, with only the smallest of protected lakes or bays showing a skim of ice. Ice fishing? Not yet. However, if the extended forecast holds, there could be walkable ice over shallow water in protected bays by the evening of Friday, Dec. 9, or on Saturday, Dec. 10.

Kurt Justice, of Island Sport Shop in Minocqua, said the best bet will be Saturday, Dec. 10 – if the winds lay down. On Wednesday morning, 20 mph winds had whitecaps rolling on Lake Minocqua across the highway from Justice’s shop.

Ice between Wednesday and Friday? In most cases, it wouldn’t be likely for ice to form that quickly, but the lakes are ready and the temperatures are cold enough. If the wind lays down, lakes will sheet over quickly. The forecast called for lows in the teens on Wednesday night, highs in the mid-20s on Thursday and lows in the low teens, then highs in the teens on Friday, with lows in the single digits. It’s those single digit lows on Friday night that has Justice thinking there could be walkable ice over shallow water by Saturday.

It’s supposed to stay cold through Saturday, with temperatures dropping even more by Sunday, Dec. 11. Sub-zero lows are forecast for Dec. 12-15.

The ice is almost here. Get the gear ready.

Categories: Blog Content, Ice Fishing, Wisconsin – Dean Bortz

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