Been getting some calls and emails on ice conditions on the tff here it is:
Fished Monday and Tuesday. There is the same 18' of ice( thickness hasn't changed in a long time), the top 4-5 " is white and porous from the rain and warm weather the ice below that hard and solid. We used a snowmobile but did see full sized trucks drive out. As of this morning there is no snow on the ice, a person could have literally rode a bicycle or ice skated on the ice. Snowmobiles or 4 wheelers are not a problem. I do have "picks" on the snowmobile I used those days, they are very helpful on the sheet ice when pulling a heavy sled.
It is a big body of water ,conditions vary based on location, aside from areas where land restrictions cause current under the ice ,thickness seems consistent. A sheet of ice however is a dynamic thing, you alone make the decision to travel on it and are responsible for your own safety, I personally am not taking my truck out anymore, as I said others are.
I did have a first out ice fishing, Monday we got the grill going, food just done and the slow rain turned into a steady heavy rain. We grabbed our plates of food went to shore and ate under some heavy balsam trees. After lunch we called the day due to rain, February 20th huh?
There was a lot of standing water on the ice from the rain. Tuesday when we came out the water from the day before had already filtered through the holes and cracks. Picking up tip ups monday the water was siphoning down the holes so fast it looked like a flushing toilet. I looked at some of the holes from the day before, I measured one 16" in diameter. The odds of walking into one of these on the 13,000 acres is really small but no less certainly a potential hazard. Careful walking around areas recently fished.
We fished mainly 14-16' and fished the day time bite for perch. We had tip ups out and caught pike but walleyes where we fished were slow. I chose the area for jigging, we may have caught walleyes but didn't fish up until dark, sometimes a requirement this time of year.The perch we caught were nice up to 12". We caught them with small ice jigs and a crappie minnow, gold jigs worked well.
One of the fisherman, Joe, from florida new to ice fishing jigged up the most perch, he found it a little spooky at first being out on the ice but after seeing trucks was a more assured. An enjoyable part of ice fishing is the cooking Richard brought polish sausages, I brought moose steaks and burgers Richard a large assortment of really good food from a polish delicatessen in Chicago. We ate well, for desert Joe had recently been to Cuba, we smoked a cuban Cohiba , a cigar far out of my price range! Life is good.