February started with ice for skating but quickly changed to a snowy surface. This allowed snowmobiles and skiers to get out on the lake and make the skaters and ice boaters go elsewhere or change their sport. Not much snow actually fell but it never really melted so there has been constant snow cover on the lake, the surface is generally white. This means that much of the now stronger sunlight is reflected so not much melting has occurred. The lake has over a foot of ice except for places where pressure ridges keep things open at times. Even those areas are frozen over now but the thickness is questionable.
Looking at Bass, Little Bass and the Sisters from the east shows a smooth, white lake. The snow layer is a inch or so thick on top of the ice. In some places, when there was a slush layer on top of the thick ice, snowmobiles broke through into it and left icy tracks.
On the south side of Stamp Act is a rock that barely breaks the surface in the Summer but with the winter water levels breaks through. As the ice shifts and the water level changes with a rainstorm, the ice breaks up and pushes up on the rock.
The Sand Bar on Stamp Act doesn’t have much swimming action these days. The gray area is where water seeped out of cracks to make slush which then froze. We got a couple of inches of heavy wet snow and then it rained on it a bit. This weighed down the ice in the same way that when you put more weight in a boat, it sinks. The result of this sinking is water can flow up through cracks and create the slush. This slush layer is not nice to break through to because it then freezes on your snowshoes or skis but you are not in danger of breaking through the foot thick ice. You may even get wet feet but there is a bottom to the slush layer. In this area, the slush then refroze and is gray.
Looking out from shore, evidence of the pressure ridge is seen with the “folding” of the ice. The area between Stamp Act and Cate is always affected by this ridge. Now, you can probably go across it but often you can’t even in mid-winter.
The picture below is looking NE from the sand bar on Stamp Act and there is evidence of snowmobiles going near shore, across the frozen pressure ridge. I guess it was strong enough for them to go over.
Days are getting longer, the sun is getting stronger but there still isn’t much, if any, melting even along the south facing shores. Ice will be on the lake for awhile.