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home : columns : columns August 17, 2017

3/8/2017 3:23:00 PM
Hooked on Fishing: The Ice Factor
By Dick Peach

The mild winter has basically eliminated much of the ice fishing in the area. We haven’t talked yet about the lack of ice on the lakes, especially on the Great Lakes.

Just a few winters ago it was so cold for an extended period of time that the Great Lakes froze completely over for the first time in memory.

That is quite interesting and was visually stunning, but the best part was that it slowed down the evaporation rate on the lakes.

The result was that we gained 4-5 inches of water after reaching an all-time low water level the preceding summer. The following winter was also quite cold, and although the Great Lakes didn’t entirely freeze over, we had enough ice to gain a few more inches of water the next spring.

This year we will be going backward. We will lose water from the lakes this winter – how much, we don’t know yet.

Aside from evaporation, there are other factors involved, such as the amount of snowfall around Lake Superior and the spring runoff into the lakes.

Our lake water comes from the Lake Superior basin and northern Wisconsin and Michigan, and our runoff from snow and spring rain flows downstream to the Mississippi River and into the Gulf of Mexico.

The Army Corps of Engineers reported on the lake levels as of March 3: Lake Michigan and Lake Huron are down two inches from last year at this time; Lake Superior is at the same level as last year.

Water levels are important to fishermen. Changing water levels will dictate where many of the fish we are looking for will locate.

The Great Lakes shipping industry, which moves cargo down the lakes from Lake Superior to Gary, Ind., or Cleveland is also seriously affected by changing lake water levels. We’ll be keeping an eye on lake levels over the next few months to see what kind of impact this mild winter will have.

Until next time…keep a tight line.

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