I fished yesterday morning for about 20 minutes. It was weird, there were only 2 other people on the ice, and the ice kept cracking and popping like crazy. I chalked it up to the recent warm weather and the fact that I was right next to the dock which would be holding heat and causing the ice to melt. On a day like yesterday, the ice is usually packed with people. I drilled 2 holes by the dock and had a huge bite on a minnow. I was fishing about a foot off of the bottom in about 16 foot of water. I had my pole sitting on top of my bucket while I was rigging my other pole. The pole flew off of the bucket and I grabbed it just as the tip went into the hole. I had something on for a few seconds, but then it let go. I rebaited and started looking around and noticed that there were some type of chairs/stations set up all over and one section of the lake was taped off and it looked like there was open water. This was when I realized that the hardwater classic must have taken place on Saturday, and that was why nobody was out there, and maybe the contest was only on the northern part of the lake and that was why it was taped off.
As I was sitting on my bucket, the ice cracking and popping was getting more frequent, and all of a sudden, the ice cracked and I sunk a couple of inches. Scared the hell out of me. I packed up my stuff and went by the island. That was when I noticed that the ice was like swiss cheese from the fishing contest. I drilled 3 holes about 15 feet from each other, set up a tip up and sat on my bucket baiting my jig. The ice kept cracking and popping. It was very eerie. I no sooner got my jig to the bottom and the ice cracked and made a loud sound. A half-moon shaped crack about 10 foot long appeared around me. When I say around me, I mean that the ice cracked and made a half circle behind me, with me in the middle of it. I packed up my stuff and left.
Everywhere I drilled, the ice was at least 7 inches thick, but I'm thinking that all of the weight from the fishing contest was what was causing the ice to crack and pop like that.