I recall as a very young child being taken up Newboro Lake with my dad, Elswood, and his brother, Art Pritchard to cut the ice into blocks for the ice house. In those days, the horse pulled the sleigh and it was a labour-intensive activity. My brother and I always enjoyed expeditions with those two men. I know that I was a late comer to the betting scene but through observation of the ice break up over the years, I remembered that it was generally mid-April that the ice went out and so I placed my bet. I am humbled and honoured to be this year’s recipient of second-guessing Mother Nature. I look forward to next year’s competition and will keep my crystal ball polished for the occasion.

Thanks so much for including me in this year’s activity.

Louise Pritchard


And finally a conclusion to the contest. A check of yesterday’s band of ice on McCaskill Island revealed nothing at 6:30 p.m. today but greenery and water. I believe I am justified in declaring that the ice is now out of Newboro Lake for the 2012-2013 season.

No one has selected April 16th as the ice-out date, so the rules indicate that I must look back to the previous day.* Louise Pritchard of Newboro selected April 15th early in the contest. Honourable mention must go to Kathy Mussell for her selection of April 17th. Perhaps her personal ice floe would have held up longer had Peter not flounced around on it, weakening its structure while hooking ropes to that fallen pine tree.

Congratulations, Louise, and enjoy your bragging rights until this time next year. And thanks to all of you for adding life to the dying winter through your participation in this friendly contest.

Have a great spring and summer.


*Should no one pick the correct ice-out date, at my discretion (subject to appeal to George Kitching) I shall designate the winner as that person who has selected the nearest date to ice out on that lake, with a preference for the date already passed, in the case of a tie.


2:50 p.m., 15 April, 2013

Sorry, Louise Pritchard, there’s still quite a bit of ice out there in the sheltered bays. I ran across from the launch to check a band of white on the north face of McCaskill Island. It’s wider than it looks. As well, Peter Frey’s tree-rescue account was on the level, from the evidence I found in the little bay near Grass Point.

At least now that I’m no longer judging from a couch this provides space for an utterly gratuitous shot of my fishing boat.


Princecraft 16

peter frey

8:25 PM (16 minutes ago)

to me
Just to let you know I was walking on the ice on my bay today between our point (Grass Point) and Beckett’s Point (log cabin). Had a white pine come down in the storm the other day and had to clear it off the ice. The size of the ice sheet in the bay would be appox. 300 ft by 200 ft and was thick enough to hold me and the tree (40 ft) while I hooked the ropes onto it to pull it off the ice ( with my Rhino).


p s only fell in the water once

Looks as though Louise Pritchard (April 15) is back in the running. I’ll put my boat in tomorrow and check things out properly. In the meantime: if the sea gull is walking, don’t drive your boat there.


Subject to compelling evidence to the contrary, I do hereby name Chip Strangfeld of Camp Island the 2013 Newboro Lake winner with his pick of April 13 as the ice-out date. Rush Cahall of Fingerboard Island picked April 14th, and Louise Pritchard of Newboro has the 15th, but I need to make a judgement somewhere, and my 100 sq. ft. floating ice rule is not as clear as I would have hoped.

If someone can point out to me a piece of floating ice on Newboro Lake in excess of 100 sq. feet, though, I will cheerfully revise statement above.

I look forward to hearing from Cliff Udall, Scott Smith, and Jackalyn Brady for their claims to bragging rights on the two Rideaus and the Westport Pond, respectively.


Further ice observations would be welcomed.

Well, Ladies and Gentlemen, I believe it’s time to begin the annual ice-out pool. Last year the competition was genteel, though intense, pitting as it did the youthful enthusiasm of new cottage owners against the wisdom and experience of the old hands on Newboro Lake.

So again, here are the rules.


Ice-out: the absence of any piece of floating ice larger in area than ten feet by ten feet

To be eligible to win bragging rights for your lake, all you have to do is send a comment to this page identifying your lake, your name, and the date you pick for ice-out on it. I shall attempt post comments in the order they drift in. At the point of the posting of the candidate’s name and selected date, that slot on the 2013 calendar will no longer be available to other competitors naming that lake. Each candidate may lay claim to one calendar slot only.

While so far most entries have concerned the Rideau Lakes or the complex of lakes lying between Newboro and Chaffey’s Locks (which for convenience we shall call Newboro Lake), there is no reason estimates for other lake systems in Eastern Ontario may not be entered, as the goal of the contest is to win bragging rights for your lake.

In cases of more than one comment selecting a particular date, I shall assign the later comment the subsequent slot on the calendar, if such a slot is available. If it is not, I shall attempt to assign the slot previous to the desired slot. Should neither of these alternatives remain open to me, I shall bounce the comment back to its sender and request an alternate date.

In cases of any dispute I shall refer the particulars to defending champion George Kitching for arbitration.

UPDATE: Should no one pick the correct ice-out date, at my discretion (subject to appeal to George Kitching) I shall designate the winner as that person who has selected the nearest date to ice out on that lake, with a preference for the date already passed, in the case of a tie.

40 Responses to “Ice-Out Pool, 2013: Win bragging rights for your lake.”

  1. Audrey Waterbury Romasco Says:

    The Lewis/Hopkins/Dargavel Island contingent believes it will be March 29th. And we of course believe that you meant “ladies and gentlemen”!!!

    • rodcros Says:

      Of course! Welcome, Ladies and Gentlemen! In my only defense I plead that I was unaware any but a few of us old farts were in the room.


      • Audrey Waterbury Romasco Says:

        No defense needed. It was said in jest. But there are a few matriarchs on the lake.


  2. Keith Cauwenberghs Says:

    Newboro Lake, Keith Cauwenberghs , April 1st.

  3. Tom Stutzman Says:

    Newboro Lake, Tom Stutzman, April 4th

  4. rodcros Says:

    After due reflection, Rod Croskery has claimed April 7th. as the ice-out date.

  5. Ken Snyder Says:

    Since it looks like a pretty cold winter with thick ice, i’m going to pick April 10th.
    Ken Snyder,Cherry Island,Newboro

  6. Chip Strangfeld Says:

    I’m seeing an ‘every three day’ pattern for Newboro Lake above, so I’ll go with April 13th. At least it’s not a Friday.
    Chip Strangfeld, Camp Island

    • rodcros Says:


      Where is Camp Island on Newboro Lake? We can’t find it.

      Rod, Tom, Tony

      • Chip Strangfeld Says:

        It’s the two small islands (22 and 23) in the north end near the bog, connected by a 50′ dock, just off the northwest side of Rick’s Is, and close to the back entry to Miller’s Bay. There are very few references to Camp Is anywhere, which is good, since I’d like to come up with new names anyways 😉

  7. rodcros Says:

    Newboro resident and volunteer fire fighter Bob French has selected April 2nd as the date for ice-out on Newboro Lake.

  8. John Lee Says:

    Lochview Cottage pick April 3rd, will be out chopping a path to get across to McCaskill to beat the Greeks for the “First boot on the Island” trophy.

  9. Tony Says:

    Tony Izatt Newboro village part time resident claims April 6th.
    And I have an ice melting pump to make that happen !!!!
    Note: be careful around the Bay street ramp, I’ve melted the ice 80′ out towards Cherry Island already according to Rod. By the weekend it’ll be almost all the way to the island.

  10. Brett Milburn Says:

    Newboro Lake, Brett Milburn, April 8th

  11. Jackalyn Brady on the Westport Pond since 1957
    Using my Father’s “wall scratchings” in the basement as reference I will choose April 12th for the ice to be gone from my “lake”??

  12. george kitching Says:

    george kitching sees brett is on 8 april, may I take 9 april

    • Dave Waterbury Says:

      Considering the warm weather this week, along with the ice jam at the ferry in Clear, well as the the webcam at Len’s Cove, I think you just might have it again this year, George.

      • Dave Waterbury Says:

        I didn’t see the date on the Ice Jam Post, nor Tom Stutzman’s comment beneath it… Got me on that for a few minutes! Thought it was very odd. Good one!

  13. Rush Cahall Says:

    I’ll take April 14th! That’s my un-educated guess from way down here in DC where we’ve had no snow, but it’s chillier than it should be.
    – Rush from Fingerboard Is.

    • Cliff Udall Says:

      full time resident of the upper rideau lk since 2004–I believe ice out will be April 13-2013,semi-educated guess?? Cliff Udall

  14. Scott Smith Says:

    I guess mine will be the first estimate for Big Rideau which means I get the best choice. I will select April 14th.

    Scott Smith
    Sunset Bluff on Bat Island
    Siesta Island: Smith-Baxter family since 1907.

  15. Kathy Mussell Says:

    Kathy Mussell & Peter Frey of Grass Point / Newboro Lake . We differ on when the ice on Newboro will go out . Peter is guessing April 9th while Kathy say it will go out on the 17th

    Contest Judge Comments:

    George Kitching has April 9th, so it must be a good choice. Ken Snyder has April 10th, so Peter Frey will have to make do with April 11th, according to contest rules.


    • Ken Snyder Says:

      Great shot of Cherry island!. I’m happy Ron got the bubbler in at the boathouse. Can’t wait til May

  16. rodcros Says:

    Louise Pritchard, waterfront resident of Newboro, has suggested April 15th is the most likely ice-out date.

  17. pete_d_frey@hotmail.com Says:

    Saturday 13/4/13 there still seems to be ice in the shallows between lewis and toppler islands and a little on the north end of lewis .

    Peter ( Grass Point )

  18. john Lee Says:

    first boot on McCaskill island newboro at 11::23 am

  19. john Lee Says:

    Took the tin boat around McCaskil and other than a couple of small bay the wind can’t get to there is no ice to be seen.

  20. pete_d_frey@hotmail.com Says:

    no boot on the island, I live on grass point and can see the ice from my window

    • rodcros Says:


      So in your opinion, according to the rules as laid down in this document, the ice won’t go out today?

      Thanks for your unique perspective on things,


  21. Keith Cauwenberghs Says:

    Congrats Chip!

  22. I’ll be putting in tomorrow afternoon, and will glady relinquish this honor to Louise if I find some ice while exploring the lake!

    • rodcros Says:

      I spoke to longtime Newboro resident Greg Monk about my judging problem. In the opinion of the two old hands on the dock and yours truly, Saturday was ice-out day on Newboro Lake.

      • rodcros Says:

        I guess I’ll have to go with Pete Frey’s evidence over Greg Monk’s opinion in this case. Just glad Pete’s o.k. after falling in while removing the fallen tree.

  23. Scott Smith Says:

    I can only base my observations on the Lens Cove webcam. It looks like there is still significant ice on the Big Rideau this morning. I would think that 14 degrees today should handle that making April 15 ice out day. A check later in the day by someone in the area would be helpful. I will be going through Portland on Wednesday but that will be too late I am sure..

    • rodcros Says:

      101 years ago today the Titanic hit the iceberg. Nonetheless, this afternoon I plan to launch and have a look at the Newboro-to-Chaffey’s Locks section of the Rideau. I’ll keep a close eye out for walking seagulls and geese.

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