The Ice is Off



    Those 4 simple words are what folks are longing to hear this time of the year.  Unfortunately the ice isn’t really off of the lakes on the Gunflint Trail but it will be soon.  How do I know this?  Because resorters at this time of the year struggle to get ready before the people come and we’re never really ready.  If the ice stays on too long then we would be all ready and prepared and then we’d have a little free time to kick back and watch the ice as it slowly disappears.  That is not going to happen.

     The process of ice off has begun and not even the below freezing nights are going to stop it.  There are signs that the liquid will soon replace the solid.  The Seagull River has opened up and the loons and ducks have arrived.  The moose pond at County Rd 81 is ice free during the days.  The Cross River is flowing, the beaver pond is open and once these things happen it’s only a matter of days until all of the ice disappears.    

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  The bigger lakes on the Gunflint Trail like Saganaga, Seagull and Gunflint are usually the last to go.  All it takes is a little bit of sunshine, some relatively warm weather, wind or a hard rain to turn the ice into porous slush.  The smaller lakes open up quicker and the creeks like Larch, Seagull and even portions of the Granite River are already navigable. 

     If you have a trip planned then please don’t worry, especially if it is in June.  I’ve been here 15 years and I don’t think there’s ever been ice that long!  In fact, I can only remember one early May fishing opener where there was still too much ice on Saganaga to go fishing in a boat. 

     While the ice is the topic of the moment it won’t be soon.  Talk will switch over to fishing, canoeing, wildlife and other wilderness experiences.  My original guess for ice out on Saganaga was May 3rd.  I don’t think I will be right on this year, but I know I won’t be too far off either.  You can count on one thing, the ice will go off and I will let you know when it does.