There may be relatively thick ice on most of Lac des Roches, but there are natural holes, slushy areas and instances of both thin ice and no ice at all, that pose a risk to all lake users.
Most of the holes are small and typically surrounded by thick ice, although this is not always the case. The many large dark patches of snow can be an indicator of water under the snow.
Low water levels last year resulted in the development of beaches made up of decomposed material of the lake bed. This material does not always freeze solid and can be an unexpected hazard.
Thick ice often does not form close to vegetation or partially submerged deadfalls near the shore so these should be avoided.
The channel ice is very thin at both ends and showed evidence that wheels from an ATV broke through the ice in several spots in mid-January.
Cold weather training
Once again, Little Lac des Roches was the ideal location for ice training last week by dive teams from both the United States and Canada.
The large tent erected on the ice protected the equipment and divers while they accessed the frigid dark water through large holes cut in the two-foot thick ice. While the consistent excellent ice condition is a major factor in choosing this location for the training, it is the full-service amenities offered by Lac des Roches Resort & Restaurant owner Luca Lanzoni that brings the teams back to our community year after year.
For the safety of lake users for the remainder of the winter season, the holes are refilled with ice and snow but are marked as hazards due to the uneven surface.
Something fishy going on
The season for catching burbot (freshwater cod) is underway.
Those that have tasted this mild white meat will agree that the title “poor man’s lobster” is well suited for this delicious fish. To coincide with their feeding and spawning habits, burbot are best fished at night on gravel shoals.
Although we have been enjoying relatively mild temperatures, one should not underestimate how cold it can feel when idling away several hours on a frozen lake. To all the hardy ice fishers, good luck, keep warm and enjoy the serenity of this calming pastime – not to mention the unpredictable sky on a clear cold night.
Recent mild weather is aiding some structures to shed their deep snow.
Residents have noticed several cabins where the roof vents are completely engulfed in snow. This could result in several problems for homeowners if not properly dealt with before heating the insides of the cabins, so vents and ducts should be inspected before cabin occupancy.
Road and trail traffic
Active logging north of the lake is scheduled to continue through April; therefore, traffic can be expected on Wavey Lake Road for the entire sledding season.
While logging is restricted to week days, traffic on the well-plowed road can expected seven days a week. Sledders should also be cautious on trails that run close to active logging areas, as a neighbour recently witnessed a tree fall on the tracks ahead of him, pushed over by machinery working in a cut block a few dozen feet beyond the tree line bordering the trail he was on.
Wildlife sightings rare
Snow in the yards and fields around the lake reveal signs of moose, rabbits and coyotes, but other than moose crossing the highway, reports of animal sightings have been uncommonly rare this winter.