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When Will the Ice Go Out?

When will the ice go out in 2014?

That's the million dollar question.

Will the ice be gone for May Long Weekend and Walleye Opener?



Every year visitors and locals wonder, and often bet on when the ice will go out. It can vary greatly—this year will probably at least 4 weeks later than in 2012. The 2013/2014 winter was one for the record books in both snow and cold temperatures. Last year was a really late ice out and I believe it will be around the same time this year.

The lakes in the southern area of Sunset Country like Rainy Lake will go out first, then the lakes around the center like Lake of the Woods and Eagle Lake. The lakes near Red Lake and Sioux Lookout may take a little bit longer and of course, the far north fly-in outpost lakes opening up even later than that.

As I write this, it is a glorious Saturday morning. It's supposed to be 17C (or 63F) today, which should put a big dent in the ice today. It also has rained the past few days so I'm hoping that helped as well. The weather next week doesn't look so good so if you all could say a prayer for warm weather, we'd appreciate it!

Take a look at the ice conditions on various areas of Northwest Ontario below:

Gateway North Outfitters posted this photo of Off Lake taken May 9, 2014. It's the first photo I've seen of the ice-out in 2014! What a beautiful sight!

The ice is gone on Off Lake north of Emo, OntarioThe ice is gone on Off Lake north of Emo, Ontario

Like Gateway North Outfitters on Facebook to keep up on their ice conditions

Little Moose Lodge on the Pipestone-Clearwater Chain of Lakes posted this promising photo this morning:

The Pipestone-Clearwater Chain of Lakes ice conditionsThe Pipestone-Clearwater Chain of Lakes ice conditions

Harris Hill Resort on the south end of the Canadian side of Lake of the Woods posted this update. The bay at the resort is just barely starting to open up.

The south end of Lake of the WoodsThe south end of Lake of the Woods

Harris Hill Resort on Facebook

Northwest Flying Inc. in Nestor Falls has a float plane in at Nestor Falls. I'm not sure where they can fly to right now though! It's still nice to see a plane in the water.

Even if there's only a bit of open water, it's still feels good to see a plane in the waterEven if there's only a bit of open water, it's still feels good to see a plane in the water

Like Northwest Flying on Facebook for more info

Tomahawk Resort on Lake of the Woods posted this photo of their beach area. They are located in Sioux Narrows on Lake of the Woods. There's a little open water around the docks, but the ice is quite solid around the docks yet. They are estimating the ice will be off in one week. Just in time for the walleye opening weekend.

A little too cold to swim just yet at Tomahawk Resort in Sioux NarrowsA little too cold to swim just yet at Tomahawk Resort in Sioux Narrows

Follow Tomahawk Resort on Facebook for Lake of the woods ice updates

The YouTube user, Vishuscirquel, posted these two videos of the ice update on Wabigoon Lake. While there is a lot less ice between the two videos which are shown a week apart, there's still lots to melt. Subscribe to him on YouTube to see if he posts further updates.

May 1, 2014 Ice Conditions on Wabigoon Lake by vishuscirquel

May 8, 2014 Ice Conditions on Wabigoon Lake by vishuscirquel

Temple Bay Lodge is located in Eagle River on Eagle Lake. As you can see in the following photos, there was still a lot of snow April 18th. It was really the winter that didn't end! However, May 9th shows the ice is definitely melting and the snow all gone.

There's a big difference bewteen April 18th and May 9th, I just wish it was an even bigger differenceThere's a big difference between April 18th and May 9th. I just wish the different was even bigger.

Like Temple Bay Lodge for more Eagle Lake ice conditions

Ignace Outpost's base is on Agimak Lake. Here's some photos from last year and this year. We seem to be about the same as last year. As you can see there was a lot of ice change in a week last year, so I am hopeful for this year as well. In the May 13th 2013 photo, Agimak Lake was about half open. A few days later, the ice was all gone. 

What will Agimka Lake look like May 13th 2014?What will Agimak Lake look like May 13th 2014?

Like Ignace Outposts on Facebook for more ice updates

Gustafson's Resort on Longbow Lake near Kenora is starting to look up. Here's their view this morning.

Bight sunny morning at Gustafson's Resort on Longbow LakeBright sunny morning at Gustafson's Resort on Longbow Lake

Follow the lake conditions on Longbow Lake on Gustafson's Facebook Page

One of the best blogs around on the ice conditions on the north end of Lake of the Woods has to be icepatrol.ca. Tim Armstrong has been photographing the lake's ice conditions for years. He has posted yearly from 2009. Tim Armstrong is a professional pilot based in Kenora, Ontario. He flies King Airs for Walsten Air, an air taxi company that is part of Discovery Air. He has many great photos and goes into details about many of the bays and areas on Lake of the Woods. You should really follow his blog at icepatrol.ca.

Here is a photo Tim shot of Bigstone Bay on Lake of the Woods on May 8th:

Bigstone Bay on Lake of the Woods looking pretty blackBigstone Bay on Lake of the Woods looking pretty black

Here's a promising photo Tim took of the Keewatin Channel near Kenora. The water has opened up almost all the way to Scotty Island. There was the surviving spine of an ice road near Town Island blocking the waterway on May 8th but it my have broken up by now.

Looking south through Keewatin Channel, with Channel Island near the center of the picture.Looking south through Keewatin Channel, with Channel Island near the center of the picture.

Sleepy Dog Cabins in Perrault Falls posted this gorgeous photo of the ice starting to go on Wabaskang Lake.

Sleepy Dog Cabins shows the ice melting on Wabaskang LakeSleepy Dog Cabins shows the ice melting on Wabaskang Lake

Sleepy Dog Cabins on Facebook

Fireside Lodge in Sioux Lookout shows some of the ice melting on the shoreline across from their lodge. They state that the ice is tight up against the docks and most of the shoreline at this time. The narrows are still completely iced in where there is normally water movement. Let the sun shine and melt the ice!

Ice conditions near Sioux Lookout, OntarioIce conditions near Sioux Lookout, Ontario

Like Fireside Lodge on Facebook to follow their ice updates

Howey Bay Resort posted this photo of Little Vermilion Lake from the air near Red Lake, Ontario. Look closely and you'll see holes with spider-like arm cracks splaying out as well as the ice separating from the shoreline. This was taken May 4th before all the rain we got.

A bird's eye view of the lakes near Red Lake, OntarioA bird's eye view of the lakes near Red Lake, Ontario

Like Howey Bay Resort on Facebook for ice updates around Red Lake

Mattice Lake Outfitters out of Armstrong brought out the hovercraft for a bit of fun. The the creeks that flow into Mattice Lake at the north end joined which usually means that the lake will be ice free in just over another week. Follow Mattice Lake Outfitter's on Facebook to see how long for their outpost lakes to open up. 

Bumming around on the Hoverdraft on Mattice LakeBumming around on the Hovercraft on Mattice Lake

Like Mattice Lake Outfitters on Facebook for updates on their outpost lakes

So that's the update on the ice conditions in Northwest Ontario as of the morning of May 10th, 2014. We have one week until the walleye opener, keep your fingers crossed everyone. If you have any updates, please add it in the comments below. I'll try to add more photos as we go, although it may be in another article as there are so many photos here already!

If all of this has got you excited for the summer fishing season, visit www.visitsunsetcountry.com to find out all you need to make a vacation to Northwest Ontario happen.

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