As I am sure most of you have heard by now, yes...I did break through the ice Monday morning with my Ranger 6-wheeler. I was in Riley's Bay and there was a spot that I saw as I was running, but was unable to avoid. My only option was to try to make it across...well, I got about 3/4 across and my driver side wheels started to sink. My machine was stuck in that position, and I was able to get out safely through the passenger door. The Ranger never went all the way through...until we tried to pull it out! Ha! Then it did go under, until...with the help of some great guys (thanks again to everybody that helped!!)...we were able to extract it. Nobody was hurt, and that's the most important thing. (I was alone.) HOWEVER, I don't want this to happen to any other fellow ice anglers, so I took my snowmobile out today and below are some open water spots in Sand Bay and the one I "found" in Riley's Bay:
Riley's Bay---my personal favorite N 44 51 608 W 87 31 189
Sand Bay (2.22 miles from Sand Bay Resort-south and west from High Cliff) N 44 52 806 W 87 28 117 This one is a few spardoic holes, but it's about 1/4 mi by 50 feet wide
(3.2 miles from Sand Bay Resort) N 44 53 379 W 87 27 227 THIS ONE IS BIG...it's 1/2 wide but runs to the SW as far as I can see...1-2 miles???
(1.93 miles from Sand Bay Resort) N 44 52 809 W 87 28 735 Not a very big spot, but it definately open
(1.31 miles from Sand Bay Resort-by Snake Island) N 44 52 460 W 87 30 155 This is another pretty big hole...about 1/2 mile x 1/2 mile
These holes are thermal pockets where the warm water condeses because we haven't been fortunate enough to get those extremely cold temps that will lock things up. You will be able to see these spots by the burm of ice that builds up around them on the edge...looks like a speed bump. Also, if you see areas of dimpled (looks like a golf ball) ice that is milky in color, that is where snow has blown over open water and skimmed over it, or where water has come up through a pressure crack area...these are dangerous areas as well.
Just so you all know, there is plenty of safe ice out there and we are fishing everyday still! These are just a few spots that you should be looking out for, and there may be more...these are the ones I spotted. I did run around quite a bit, but that's not to say I didn't miss a spot?? So, just BE SAFE and CAREFUL and good fishing!