April 2009 Archives

Friday 24 April 2009

I'm back in the city after a wonderful ice-out weekend on Canoe Lake with my wife (Debbie), and my mom (Virginia) and dad (John). We managed to arrive on Friday in time to see the last large patch of ice drift north and melt away.

Not an hour after we had arrived on the west shore, this year's ice-out winner, Russ Matthews, pulled up to our dock with his wife Jill, and daughter Sarah. I'm very pleased that Russ won this year, he is a life-long Canoe Laker and our neighbour -- and Friday was his birthday!

Congratulations to Russ, and the 11 (!) others who were savvy enough to pick Friday for ice-out this year: Randy Born, Karin McCaskill, Holly Stewart, Christopher White, Sue Kingsley, Mark Rubino, Brian MacTavish, J. Proppe, Steve Soloduka, Doug Pole, Andrew Hsueh

And many thanks to everyone who participated in this year's ice-out contest -- see you all next year!

This year's winner (and birthday boy) Russ Matthews with wife Jill, and daughter Sarah on ice-out day.

Watching the last of the ice melt away to the north.

Yours truly...


It's official! The only ice left on Canoe Lake is cooling our Nikka single malt scotch as we toast the start of a new season. Congrats to birthday boy, Russ Matthews who has ice-out bragging rights! Check the predictions page to see who else got it right. And check the gallery I linked to in my previous post for photos live via iPhone. Signing off from Canoe Lake, -Jeff

Going, going...

I received reports last night from people at cottages on the north end of Canoe Lake saying that there is open water there, and that they were able to reach the south end where there is also some open water on the west shore (the opposite shore from the Portage Store). This news, combined with the warm weather coming, and the opinion of Algonquin Park staff that corridor lakes will be ice-free by Saturday, all suggests that we are less than 72 hours from ice-out.

There is only one thing to do now -- get up there and see for myself! I'll be leaving shortly and will do my best to report in here late this afternoon or this evening. But in case I am not able to get a post up here, you can also check this Mobile Me gallery for photos posted directly from my iPhone.

Algonquin Park ice-flight report

Looks like Algonquin Park staff did do an ice conditions fly-over yesterday (Tuesday, April 21st) and have posted a report with a few pictures over at Park HQ.

It's a longish report, but the short version is that they estimate that "highway 60 Corridor lakes should be open by Saturday (April 25th) and all interior lakes by Monday (April 27th)."

It is clear in the photos that large chunks of Opeongo are already open, and Smoke -- although it has no large open areas yet -- looks like it's starting to get soft. With the very warm weather in the forecast for this weekend it seems certain now that the ice won't last very far into next week, if that!

The home stretch?

It's looking like we may be entering the home stretch this week. The rain that's forecast for today through Wednesday will be a big help, and it looks like it will be followed by at least a couple of warm, sunny days on Friday and Saturday.

Unfortunately, I don't think the ice will be out in time for those hoping to head out on a canoe trip or go fishing on Friday, or even Saturday. I could be wrong, but my feeling right now is that the ice will go out early next week. I think there will be a fair bit of open water along the shoreline by Saturday afternoon, but the main body of the lake is still pretty solid and it's going to take time (and some wind) to loosen it up.

I do think it is safe to assume that the ice will be out by next weekend (May 1st) -- or at least open enough to get around.

So, will it be a repeat of last year, and right on the median date -- Saturday, April 25th? Or will it be a few days later and go to one of my immediate family? (My father has Sunday, my wife has Monday, I have Tuesday, and our very good family friend and Canoe Laker Harry Binswanger has Wednesday.)

Stay tuned!

Voting closed!

I have posted all the dates I've received as of this morning, and am closing the voting for this year. Thanks for participating, and good luck to all!

It's certainly a warm and sunny day in Toronto and up Algonquin today, but the forecast is still showing below zero temps at night next week, and not all that warm during the day.

Photos of Lake of Two Rivers and Smoke Lake posted today by Gordon Baker over at Algonquin Outfitters show tht things are softening up a little around the edges, but the main body of both lakes remains solid and white and I still think we're at least a week away from ice-out.

And in case some of you missed it, our little ice-out site was mentioned in the latest edition of Ontario Parks "Insider" newsletter, and as a result we've been getting about 150 extra visits to the site each day. In total, we've had 4,000 visits to the site this season, from 1,500 unique visitors -- not bad!

Lake Opeongo ice-out history

Algonquin Park has a page devoted to the ice-out history of Lake Opeongo, going all the way back to 1964!

Portage Store bay -- yesterday!

Many thanks to Greg Van Gastel for sending me some photos of the P-Store bay taken yesterday (Monday, April 13th). Here's one from almost exactly the same spot as Nick's April 2nd shot. Again, virtually no change in almost two weeks :-(

The P-Store Bay on April 13th, 2009.    [Photo by Greg Van Gastel]

Portage Store bay a week later

What difference has a week made? None, it seems. Here's a photo from another Canoe lake local, Jenn Day. It was taken a week after the previous photo by Nick -- on Friday April 10th.

Interesting to note that the water level has come up a lot -- looks like 8-10" to me.

Hali and Shanty wishing for ice-out at the P-store docks April 10th, 2009.    [Photo by Jenn Day]

Portage Store bay on April 2nd

Here's a photo from Canoe lake local, Nick. It was taken a week ago on April 2nd and since then it's been pretty cool (especially at night) and they've had 5-10 cm of snow!

So I don't think we're looking at a record early ice-out, as some have thought.

The P-Store Bay on April 2nd, 2009.    [Photo by Nick?]

Photos anyone?

If any of you have been up in Algonquin recently and have photos you don't mind sharing, I'd love to have some to post here -- especially if they give us a sense of the ice conditions :-)

If they aren't too huge you can just email them to me, or you can use a free file drop service like Drop.io.

Algonquin Park ice conditions report

Looks like Algonquin Park started updating their spring ice conditions bulletin today.

April (snow!) showers...

Well, it looks like a warmer March is giving way to a colder April and we've got one more blast of winter on the way. The forecast for early next week shows as much as 15 cm of snow for Algonquin, with temperatures for the week hovering around zero. Not exactly ice-melting weather I'm afraid.

Last year around the middle of April the temperature climbed up to the low 20's and stayed there for over a week--I think that's what finished off the ice. So watch the weather closely next weekend and beyond and hope for a warm spell.

We're up to 137 votes so far. Not quite last year's 155, but getting there. Here are a few interesting things about this years voting:

  • 50% of people think the ice will be out by April 23rd.
  • 50% of people think the ice will go out during the 7 days
    following Tuesday, April 21st.
  • I received 5 emails in a row last week voting for April 16th.
  • Almost all of the 27 people who have picked April 24th, 25th or 26th
    are locals. Do they know something you don't? Or are they just playing it safe and picking last year's date?


Contact Email

You can contact Jeff about Ice-Out by email at 'iceout' + '@' + 'canoelake.ca'

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  • 2013 Predictions!

  • To make a prediction just send your date to Jeff by email at 'iceout' + '@' + 'canoelake.ca'

    See what dates people chose in past years.

  • 2014 (May 2nd)
  • 2013 (April 29th)
  • 2012 (March 26th)
  • 2011 (April 29th)
  • 2010 (April 3rd)
  • 2009 (April 24th)
  • 2008 (April 25th)

Historical Sites & Data

    Here is a table and graph of all the ice-out dates since 1989 (plus one very old data point for 1953!)

    In 2008 this site was converted to a blog format, so historical posts are now available via the archives. Previous sites have been preserved here for posterity...

  • 2007 (April 22nd)
  • 2006 (April 20th)
  • 2005 (April 28th)
  • 2004 (April 22nd)
  • 2003 (April 23rd)
  • 2002 (April 19th)
  • 2001 (April 23rd)
  • 2000 (April 26th)
  • 1999 (April 20th)

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