The first thing needed for the Minnesota fishing opener is for the ice to be off the lake! I know I'm stating the obvious, and that there is a variety of preparation that goes into getting ready for the fishing opener, but without open lakes we've got nothin'! Remembering last spring, which was very late in coming, most Park Rapids area lakes didn't have ice out until the day of opener, Two Inlets Lake included! Bob still went walleye fishing that day, but had to stay at the north end of the lake while large sheets of ice bounced around in the middle and south end of the lake. The picture above is what Two Inlets Lake looked like yesterday at sunset. What appears to be open water is just a skim of water over about 25 inches of ice. It might look like we're nearly open, but it's deceiving.
Many of our resort guests who are not from Minnesota are intrigued by the process of "ice out." Bob ran across the following information on the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources web site, and I thought many of our blog readers would find it interesting. So here is the step by step process written by Ed Swain of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, describing the process of freezing and thawing lakes.
1. In the late fall, the lake loses heat to the atmosphere, and then on a day or night when the wind is not blowing, ice forms. The ice gets thicker as long as the lake can continue to lose heat.
2. In most Januaries and Februaries, snow both reflects sunlight and insulates the lake. With a thick snow layer, the lake neither gains nor loses heat. The bottom sediment is actually heating the lake water slightly over the winter, from stored summer heat.
3. Around March, as the air warms and the sun gets more intense, the snow melts, allowing light to penetrate the ice. Because the ice acts like the glass in a greenhouse, the water beneath it begins to warm, and the ice begins to melt FROM THE BOTTOM.
4. When the ice thickness erodes to between 4 and 12 inches, it transforms into long vertical crystals called "candles." These conduct light even better, so the ice starts to look black, because it is not reflecting much sunlight.
5. Warming continues because the light energy is being transferred to the water below the ice. Meltwater fills in between the crystals, which begin breaking apart. The surface appears grayish as the ice reflects a bit more light than before.
6. The wind comes up, and breaks the surface apart. The candles will often be blown to one side of the lake, making a tinkling sound as they knock against one another, and piling up on the shore. In hours, a sparkling blue lake, once again!
There you go! You're just a little bit smarter now. I'll do my best to post some pictures and/or video as the ice starts to go out and the look of the lake is more interesting.
Until next time ~~ Jennifer
Park Rapids, MN, and Two InletsResort specifically, is a great place to be for the Minnesota fishing opener. The resort opens May 9th with walleye and northern pike fishing season opening May 10th.