7 May, 2014:

For many years we enjoyed the company of Jock and Annie and their family as our neighbours at Indian Lake Marina. Fine people, deeply devoted to Brothers Island and the Lake.



It’s been fun having over two hundred visitors per day to the Walnut Diary, but the ice is now out and so things must necessarily calm down. Thank you for visiting. Your comments and contributions were a considerable help in completing the serious task of reporting ice conditions on Newboro Lake.

Until next November,


26 April, 2014

I toured Newboro Lake this morning as far as the end of Stout’s Lower Bay. I found no ice in the water except for a small quantity of cubes next to John Lee’s dock with a total area less than 100 sq. feet. There’s a bit of slush on shorelines where it was no doubt driven by the wind last evening.

Thus I’ll stand by my judgement: Newboro Lake ice went out at 7:00 p.m., April 25th, and thus Dr. Roslyn Dakin wins bragging rights for the year on all matters pertaining to Newboro Lake. Congratulations, Roz.

25 April, 2014

7:37 P.M.

6:30 p.m.: From Water Street in Newboro I looked between the islands at a patch of black ice off Ricks Island, concluded that nothing would happen today, and went on my way. Then I checked again at 7:00 and saw white caps and wave movement where there had been ice before.

A careful look as I drove along Sparrow Lane leads me to think that, subject to a credible report of ice outside my lines of vision, the ice has finally gone out of Newboro Lake.

We’ll do a thorough search for surviving ice by boat tomorrow morning, but I’m inclined to put this one in the books, as of 7:00 p.m., April 25, 2014.



Remember if you are navigating that if a seagull’s walking on it, it isn’t water.

John will keep us posted on icebergs: I know people are on Newboro today, and I am heading up this afternoon to launch and head across to McCaskill. Will report any burg that I see. John Lee

You were right, Keith. At 1:00 p.m. today I looked from Hwy 42 to see a large ice floe in the middle of Newboro Lake. I turned around and brought my boat home.

6:53 AM

Hi Rod,

I can still see a large area of ice in the same area as I did yesterday. It is smaller and won’t last much longer but it is still significant. The ice this year just doesn’t want to quit. I doubt if it will last through the weekend, but this year who can tell?

Keith Cauwenberghs

24 April, 2014

Keith Cauwenberghs reports:

April 24, 2014 at 5:51 am e

I can still see ice this morning from our cottage on Swallows Lane. The ice I see is off in the distance as I look at the east end of Makay Island. But the bulk of the ice is now gone as I look down the lake towards Cherry Island and the main docks.

Keith’s observation sent me exploring the far side of the lake by cottage roads. I fetched up on the balcony of artist John Shae, where at 9:20 a.m. I snapped this telephoto shot of Rosal’s Bay ice. It shouldn’t last long.

Because Indian and Clear Lakes are now apparently open, it will be up to a keen observer to locate a sheet of phantom ice in a bay on Newboro Lake tomorrow somewhere, or John Lee will have emerged as this year’s winner.

John Shay's Balcony view

23 April, 2014

If a boat can pass through it, it’s not a sheet of ice.

Is the 2014 ice-out contest now over? The ice in the photos consists of many cubes which happen to be floating in each others’ vicinity prior to melting. There’s not a 100 sq. foot sheet to be seen.

Last year, ice sheets held on in bays and around the lee of islands for days. This year I don’t know.

Does anyone know of a big sheet of ice on this level which I can monitor?



John Lee sent me a photo taken today of a small boat heading through the centre of the ice mass in a southerly direction from Newboro. It looks as though things are moving right along, at least within the harbour. If you also look carefully at yesterday’s photo below you’ll see many perforations in the ice sheet. The whole thing may have turned to slush — or maybe only over shallow water.


22 April, 2014


John Lee reports:

Was at the township dock yesterday. The docks are free floating, with a slush mix out about 50 feet. I threw some large rocks further out and the ice is still pretty solid in the middle. Through my binoculars I can tell my floating docks over at the cottage are still well cemented in ice.

So I don’t think the 23rd will be the date, nor the 24th (which was my pick) but who knows?

21 April, 2014

Today from Tony’s dock the ice looks very black and porous. George Kitching may be right with his 23rd April prediction.

19 April, 2014

Though photos show ice which is blackening and looks weak, Tony Izatt this morning told me that it has taken his ice-eating pump 5 weeks to get as far toward Cherry Island as it has. In previous years it has opened up a passage in two weeks.


In some places on his dock the water is within 3 1/2″ of the top decking. Underneath are 14″ planks which normally sit about 6″ above the summertime water level. Tony’s calling the water level a 38-year high.

16 April, 2014

Dave Brown posted a photo on Facebook this morning of his gas dock at Chaffey’s under an inch of water.

15 April, 2014

Nervous emails this morning about flooding on Newboro Lake. Apparently the water level is up again.

14 April, 2014

Water levels are very high on all lakes. At Narrows Lock the water is up over the far ends of the 48 hour docks on both the Big Rideau and the Little Rideau sides. Opinicon is full. Newboro is full. Tony told me today that the water level rose another inch overnight, “approaching 1972 levels.”

The ice remains solid. This is fortunate because in Portland today I was nearly blown over by the wind while gassing up at the service station.

Let’s hope for a warm, quiet rain to take the ice out in another week. If there had been any ice floes free today, there would have been serious damage.

12 April, 2014

Today I drove my UTV through the back roads to Newboro simply because it was the kind of day that one does that sort of thing. I found Tony at his dock with a shovel handle, breaking off big chunks of ice and feeding them into the flow from his ice-eating pump. A pair of geese watched all this without comment.

A group of ice fishermen made their way off the end of the public dock and out onto their usual spot off McAllister. We drove over to look at the new public docks. Large concrete anchors are sitting on the ice next to the docks attached by slack lengths of chain. In one case the ice has bent down a foot or so under the weight, but in no case has one of these heavy anchors broken through to fall to the sediment below. The ice is still quite strong though it looks a bit rough with the sun on it. Because sand and salt have eroded the driving lane, access for vehicles to the lake at Newboro is out of the question now, but the fishermen did jump down off the end dock onto solid ice.

11 April, 2014

This morning’s the first time this year I have been able to take the dog on her 5:00 a.m. walk without a coat and boots. Because of the snow pack the woods is still off limits to vehicles, but the fields are now passable.

According to the Review-Mirror, local maple syrup producers remain hopeful, but so far have had a tough year. Bruce Legget in Crosby complained that squirrels have pierced sections of sap tubing still hidden beneath the snow.


7 April, 2014

It’s wet and muddy around the launch ramp, and Tony’s pump has cleared the ice out as far as the driving lane on the winter ice road. On land the snow is on the wane, though in the woods it’s still deep. I was able to drive around some fields on the farm today.

The heavy rain overnight should further soften things up.

6 April, 2014

John Lee reports from the middle of Newboro Lake:

Sitting here at Lochview cottage waiting for the Newboro glacier to recede. Still couple feet of solid ice.


2 April, 2014

Douglas Fyfe asked:

Are you hearing anything about ice conditions/thickness on Newboro lake? I was wondering if a walk across the lake this weekend to Emerald Island would be in the cards.


At Tony’s today and I noticed a fresh ATV track out from the launch ramp. The driver ventured onto the ice, did a do-nut, and then (the tracks) passed out of my view. Tony’s dock-protection pump has made some headway, but only enough to protect the dock from rising water. If the ice were thin it would be out all of the way to Cherry Island, but the pump has worked for three weeks to make a living-room-sized hole.

I saw quite a bit of slush on the ice today around the launch ramp. That could be because streams like the creek across Hwy 15 near Crosby are bursting their banks with the runoff.


26 March, 2014


23 March, 2014

John Lee reports:
Still here sitting on 3 ft of ice waiting for it to melt. Two years ago we were sitting in the same spot but on the dock in shorts.

Lee Cottage report

To understand how dire our situation this year is, check out this Review Mirror column from April 4, 2010.


22 March, 2014

Last evening we took advantage of a window of warm weather to dig the maple syrup arch out of the barn and install it in the sugar shack. It required an hour of snowblower and loader work through deep snow, but we’re now a little more ready for syrup season.


20 March, 2014

A heavy rain last night has changed the look of the lake. Water level remains very low and the ice very thick, to the point that the bubbler at the end of Tony’s dock seems to be trying to carve out ice frozen to the bottom.


14 March, 2014

This wood supply for sugar-making still needs to be unearthed (unsnowed?) and transported to the shack. Considering that it took 45 minutes of loader work to get this close to the pile in my back yard, I’d say that syrup season will be late this year.


UPDATE: 20 March

A night’s rain has changed things.


11 March, 2014

On a drive today we saw two maple syrup operations gearing up. Our syrup crew’s agitating to get at it, but so far there’s too much snow at the farm.

9 March, 2014

A snowshoe expedition fell into disarray this morning when we ventured into the woodlot. The dry corn snow had little lift and we tumbled off our feet when the snowshoes tipped unexpectedly. There’s a lot of snow on low parts of the trail. Footing was much better in open areas.


In the context of last week’s test drive of a Kawasaki Mule on tracks, I wondered if it would have been able to travel through this difficult snow.

7 March, 2014

There’s still way too much snow out there, but today the warm sun felt good on my balding head. It’s been a long time since I’ve felt comfortable outside without a hat.

4 March, 2014

Really, you need to read this excellent New York Times essay on ice fishing.


28 February, 2014

Snowshoes worked well today on a cool hike to the woodlot.

At Newboro I happened upon a crew loading logs onto a tractor trailer. Mike Boudens is a buyer for Commonwealth Plywood Co. in Pembroke. He told me that 12,000 bd ft of Black Walnut logs for veneer sold last week for $100K. It seems prices have crept back up after a low in 2007 after Martha Stewart pronounced her dislike of dark wood.

The vendors of the logs told me the ice is “about four feet” where they are working. They take a small bulldozer/loader out onto the ice without concern, and they’re hauling trailer-loads of logs across their ice bridge to the mainland.

22 February, 2014

So much for snowshoes today. Our expedition into the orchard lasted ten minutes, tops. The snow had no structure which could hold us up, so we dropped down to the slush underneath, often a 6″ fall. Our springer spaniel found the footing awkward as well, dropping through a thin crust into an eternity of soft, wet snow. Taffy’s legs are uncommonly short.

In the afternoon Tony drilled a couple of holes around his dock on Newboro Lake and found 19″ of ice beneath the drifted snow. Further out, I walked into 5″ of slush beneath 6″ or so of remaining snow. On the ice road near the ramp I observed 5″ of standing water. A few snowmobiles flitted by on the marked trail across the lake, apparently oblivious to the slush hazard below.

21 February, 2014

Coupled with heavy rain overnight, a major thaw for the last 24 hours has the streams flowing and the snow cover dropping at a satisfying rate.

14 February, 2014

Just finished blowing out the driveway. Very glad for tractor with cab today. Maybe 4″ of dry snow with some drifting. More falling, but not a lot.

Last night UPS posted a list of area codes from South Carolina to Pennsylvania and the East Coast where they have suspended operations until the storm abates.

12 February, 2014

Just got back from a walk with the dog on the Cataraqui Trail. Crisp, still and cold. February at its finest.

*Two-thirds of the readers of The Ice Report are American, and you guys seem to be concerned about the weather these days. Nothing to report up here except sore backs from heaving on snow machines.

10 February, 2014

John Lee touched base with this report:

We are having our annual Newboro Lake Winter (Olympic) Games at Lochview cottage on McCaskill island. Last week we had curling, ice pool, ice golf, an ice pirates treasure hunt and Quincy building. This week was bobsledding. Attached is a picture of my wife Michelle on the Bob Sled run.


9 February, 2014

Ice depth for the Newboro Ice Fishing Derby: 23″ or 58 centimeters

Louise Pritchard came along to test her beginner’s luck in the derby. As current holder of bragging rights for her ice-out contest win last season, we let her select a hole from the many we drilled, and she caught the only fish.

Louise and perch

This morning we spent several minutes looking at a mysterious island or huge ice crack which appeared at the end of Fingerboard Island about mid-morning. Where it had been a continuous sheet of white ten minutes before, there were tall black lumps stretching out from shore. We marveled at the sight, and then the island gradually sank below the sheet of white, and that was that. But a string of snowmobiles looked very tall and short when they passed that area, then became just little black bumps on the snow a hundred yards further on. Can you fish in a worm hole?

Tom Stutzman sent along an article on the Great Lakes ice cover. It’s an interesting read.

8 February, 2014

Ski-Doo owners are happy this winter because of the abundant snow. Trail conditions are ideal — except for geezers walking their dogs on them because the snow’s too deep for the mutt anywhere else. Traffic was so heavy on the Cataraqui Trail this morning that we branched off onto a plowed cottage road to get away from the rush.

On an afternoon jaunt with Tony to scout an ice-fishing spot for tomorrow’s derby, we followed a plowed track into the secluded bay behind Camp Island and encountered Kathy Strangfeld checking the cribs for their new boathouse. Before long her husband Chip returned from a photo safari and we swapped snowdrifts-on-the-lake stories.

2 February, 2014

At 5:30 the dog and I walked out into a still, warm morning with four inches of heart-attack snow. The new blanket is so wet and heavy that the dog moved through it with some deliberation. I wondered if the tractor’s blower would move it without plugging. Hwy 15 had seemed unplowed with very little traffic at 9:00 p.m. last night. This is April snow.

The dog brought my wife a dead robin this morning.

1 February, 2014

This morning Tony Izatt reported a plowed trail from the launch ramp out past Cherry Island on Newboro Lake. It seems he set out to explore the route and eventually branched off on his own with his Ranger:

Got it stuck out on the ice half way to our fishing spot. The wind has compressed the snow so it’s quite dense. When you hit a snow drift, which you can’t see by the way, you go in up to your axles. That’s it. For once I didn’t bring a shovel either so dug it out by hand. What a pain. With 10-15 more cm’s today and tonight the going will be very tough out there.

The old guy who lived down the road when I was a little kid used to say, “The first two days of the month will govern the weather of the next 14.” UPDATE: 14 February. I guess Old Dave was right again.

31 January, 2014

Today was the first day in recent memory that it has felt pleasant outdoors. Our dog enjoyed the two-mile walk on the Cataraqui Trail. Four robins were feeding on wild grapes in an elm tree over the trail.

29 January, 2014

A 70-vehicle pile-up on the 401 today shut off traffic in both directions near Deseronto, Ontario. Humidity was 80% today and the wind remained strong, making for unpleasant intervals out of doors.

28 January, 2014

Whatever the thermometer says, it’s cold out there. My neighbour called last night complaining, “My big tractor is frozen up. Can you come over and blow out my driveway?”

This morning he showed me what was wrong with the massive John Deere he uses for snow removal: it has a square glass fuel bowl on the side of the engine which holds about a pint. The diesel in it has turned to jelly in the cold wind.

27 January, 2014

7:42 a.m. We just watched a brief whiteout involving all windows of the house. I’ve never seen that before.

8:13 a.m. That was lively. Much of last night’s gentle snowfall has relocated somewhere to the east. I’m pretty sure I saw a small flash of lightning at the height of the blow. It’s clearing now.

Skate the Lake 2014 in Portland ran as scheduled Saturday and Sunday, awarding North American championships. Competitive speed skaters are a hardy crew.

Here’s a Twitter feed: https://twitter.com/bigrideauskate

26 January, 2014
It was -15F (-26C) and relatively still this morning while I cleaned up the drifts across the driveway from a north wind overnight. Yesterday the drifts resulted from an uncommon south wind. If anyone is hardy enough to venture out onto the lake with a vehicle in this weather, drifted snow will be an important variable. Don’t be surprised to come upon occasional bays with three feet of fresh snow blown in overnight.

I wonder how the Skate The Lake speed skating competition in Portland this weekend is going. Yesterday’s wind, snow and poor visibility would have been a nightmare for competitors. Today’s numbingly cold.

25 January, 2014

This morning Tony looked out over Newboro Lake and reported a brisk south wind and blowing snow.

22 January, 2014

It’s a dry cold. I didn’t really understand what that meant until I dropped the garbage bags at the road this morning and turned the little tractor back toward the house. The breeze directed the vapour-rich exhaust from the diesel engine back against my leg, which instantly felt very cold. It’s -28 C. What should I expect? The squirrels are active this morning in the bright sunlight, though I think I saw a black squirrel towing a gray to get him started.

18 January, 2014

An expedition to Tom’s cottage on Scott Island went well today. Tony’s Ranger pulled strongly through about 3″ of powder over a couple of feet of glare ice. The only potentially interesting part of the expedition had to do with the climb from the lake to the cottage over huge, ice-covered boulders.

Tom had eventually found a pair of ice cleats in stock at Fat Nancy’s in Pulaski after many unsuccessful inquiries at sporting goods vendors. But the cleats did the trick. The two geezers successfully walked up the steep, ice-covered slopes and then back down again without mishap.

Maybe we are finally growing up, but I still get a kick out of reading the accounts of earlier heroic winter assaults on Scott Island.



17 January, 2014

Buy quality.

Bet and I are just back from a field test of our new ice grippers. At Walmart I bought a $10.00 pair which stretch over the boot soles and provide traction — as long as they remain in place. Trouble is, they come off.

Bet’s Get-A-Grip Ice Diamonds (medium) from Trailhead via Value Village (2008 sales slip in the package for $49.99 plus taxes) fit her size 7 Lowa hiking boots well. See photo. The carbide spikes would play havoc with a hardwood floor, but Bet felt very comfortable walking sloping areas of crust which would have guaranteed a fall without the spikes.

My XL cheapies held on smooth surfaces, but fell off my size 9 combat boots every time I dropped through the crust, and I found them very difficult to put back on while balancing on the other foot. I think I’ll screw them to the boots.

Why am I concerned? This week I heard that one man in Westport and one on the Big Rideau have died from falls on the crust. This is serious business.

Newboro Lake right now is a large skating rink, with a half inch of snow on top as a lubricant.

16 January, 2014

While I didn’t leave Newboro Harbour today, I spoke to a fishing guide in a pickup truck sagging under a load of firewood. I think he told me it came from Channel Island, halfway up the lake, an area I always figured had some current. The surface of the ice is glare, with occasional small bumps.

On my second trip out fishing, I used my truck. Warmer.

14 January, 2014

At the Isthmus between Clear and Indian Lakes



12 January 2014

While we ice fishermen were wise enough to keep our vehicles off the lake today because of the flooding, John Lee took a more innovative approach, finding 8″ of water more than enough for his trusty canoe: (I cut and pasted John’s ice report below the photo. You can also find it in the comments section below.)


Newboro Lake is a lake in a lake. 8 in of water on the surface of 20 in of ice. Some of the old fishing holes have acted like sink drains for surface water to run into but they have opened up to 2 or 3 feet in diameter, big enough to fall through if you are not careful. Marked 4 of them between township dock and McCaskill island. Will be breaking out the canoe soon.

11 January, 2014

I’ve never seen thicker ice on Newboro Lake. Tony’s skimmer reached down almost two feet into the holes and couldn’t find bottom. No fish bit and it was pouring rain, but the ice seemed good on the main part of the lake on the morning of the thaw.

By 2:00 the rain had stopped so Tony and I headed out again. This time we encountered large, deep puddles all over the lake. The tropical blue in the larger ones made me a little nervous, so we quit fording with the Ranger and came into the harbour to fish. Before long John and Michelle Lee walked out from their cottage on McCaskill Island to chat.

From 4:00 to 4:30 the fish bit quite well and we headed in somewhat sated.

8 January, 2014

I ventured out on the crust at the farm today, touring the open areas of the property on an exhilarating ride over the ice. The only place the Ranger’s left wheels fell through was along a fence row at the top of a south-facing slope which had faced bright sunlight and shelter from the wind for the last few days. It was cold running into the wind and I had to use the helmet’s full face mask to continue in that direction. Traction was good enough to allow hill climbs at speed with the 2WD machine, though.

7 January, 2014

Outside it is now cold, clear, and very windy. Until 10:00 a.m. Pearson Airport in Toronto was on a ground stop which halted all flights from landing.

Crazy wind chill out there. The garage door which usually works reliably didn’t want to go down. The 7″ vent for the kitchen range hood froze up. When I put the renewal stickers on the vehicle license plates, little pieces of each chipped off in the wind as I applied them.
This is not the day for outdoor adventures.

6 January, 2014

5:45 A.M. 41F/5C temperature in pouring rain. Deep puddles on the driveway around the house.

I just watched a neighbour back a pickup truck out his driveway onto Young’s Hill Road and slide sideways down the slope for at least six car-widths before the headlights became visible and he glided slowly down the rest of the hill.

It may be a little icy out there this morning.

Tony Izatt offered this: “Local firefighter Bob French told me yesterday he was not going on the ice even with his ATV and was recommending to others wanting to go out in their trucks to do dock work that they definitely not go on the ice.”

5 January, 2014

An unexpected and disconcerting drop through the crust into deep slush put a quick end to my tour of Newboro Lake today in a 4WD Ranger. While a few snowmobiles were running along on the crust without incident, one 50′ section out in the open had weak crust and a lot of wet slush underneath.

The crust should be fine to walk on, but a 1500 lb vehicle at 20 mph was too much for it in at least one location off Cherry Island. I’ll wait for the freeze-up after the January thaw for further lake travel.

John Lee reported (see comment below) that his lightweight snowmobile traveled well over the thin crust, but that a heavier vehicle would fall through into the slush where the ice has bowed down from the snow’s weight.

John, I was approaching your snowmobile at cruising speed today when my left wheels dropped through the slush. This situation made a right turn and reciprocal course quite difficult for a few yards. By the time I’d regained directional control of the Ranger I had lost interest in exploration.

3 January, 2014

Doug Fyfe reported a good walk out to his property on Newboro Lake on December 31st. He commented that skates would have been useful, as the crust was smooth and hard.

Today I noticed a bit of open water below Kingston Mills and the Upper Beverley Lake dam, but no significant flow.

I’m sure people would like to know what the ice is like at Bedore’s Creek and the Isthmus between Clear and Indian Lakes, so if anybody is in the vicinity, please send a comment to rodcros@gmail.com.

1 January, 2014

Check John Lee’s report in the comments section below. He reports good walking on Newboro Lake.

30 December, 2013

Mayday at the farm after Charlie and Derek take a frolic on the crust.

Mayday at the farm after Charlie and Derek take a frolic on the crust.

The crust is pretty solid in most places….

28 December, 2013

This morning I measured 13.0″ of ice on Newboro Lake in the harbour. Terrible walking conditions resulted from the weakened crust with 4 to 6″ of slush below it.

26 December, 2013

Walking conditions on the snow at the farm today were the best we’ve ever encountered. Strolling the property was like walking on a well-padded sidewalk. I could see a walk across the lake to a cottage in these conditions. But don’t forget there’s a foot of snow underneath.

25 December, 2013

This snow continues to confound my expectations. For our annual Christmas Day snowshoeing expedition into the woodlot, only one of our party chose to wear snowshoes because of a lack of tread on her boots. The rest of us clumped along on the crust, falling through only very occasionally on this cold morning.


This is the only time anyone in the family can remember a Christmas Day walk on the crust.

The coyotes brunched this morning on a cottontail. All they left was one drop of blood and a quantity of fur.

Squirrels were active in the woods this morning. Reds have littered the snow with walnut hulls from four different caches around the large walnut trees back the lane. A creature (I suspect a gray squirrel) has developed an idiosyncratic caching method for black walnuts: it leaves them in the top branches of pine and walnut seedlings hundreds of feet from the seed source.



23 December, 2013

Snowshoe Report

A foot of snow that a dog can walk on should be good for snowshoeing, right? Not this stuff. Thought I’d get off the couch, strap on a pair and give the dog some exercise. I lasted less than a hundred yards before I retreated to the house, pocket-muscles burning.
My metal/plastic webs dropped through at every step. This is tricky, heart-attack snow.

Overheard at Baker’s Feed Store this morning: “Bob said this morning he couldn’t plow this snow. You’d think he should be able to with a 120 hp 4WD John Deere, and a brand new at that, but he told me he couldn’t do anything with it.”

BTW: The number of power outages in Toronto has crept up to 250,000. And some are still losing power as others are reconnected. Hydro promises them nothing before Christmas. Even with every available crew within driving distance, there are just too many trees down for a speedy resolution to the problem.

22 December, 2013

6:40 AM. A look out the windows indicates lights in the usual directions, so the power grid’s fine in this area. My wife reports a couple of inches of “squishy” ice pellets on the ground, making the dog-walk somewhat difficult but not hazardous. The trees show pretty much their normal silhouettes. The Weather Channel’s huffing and puffing about well over 140,000 without power to the south of us, and another 50K in Toronto.

I just discovered a very cool site which micro-reports weather conditions:

9:45 AM. Back inside after an hour of snow blowing with the tractor. It’s not so much what the snow/ice pellet mixture is now. The wonder is in what it will become if the temperature drops. The storm has spared trees and wires in this area by falling as ice pellets. This precipitation has drifted into low, dense accumulations best illustrated by the snowbank at the end of the driveway: it didn’t look like much but the blower didn’t dig into it until the tires with chains had chewed it up a bit. Then the engine deepened its sound as it came under the load of about eight inches of snowbank. A look at the driveway later showed areas untouched by the blower because of the dense snow lifting the blower on its runners.

I remember back in 1974 when we had a great deal of this kind of snow — enough that the drifts were up into the second row of limbs on the maples which lined Young’s Hill Road, and enough to require the services of a D8 bulldozer specially fitted with a snowplow blade to break a lane through to Hwy 15 from Forfar. There was no crust to this stuff. It was solid, top to bottom. I remember my mother’s footprints as I followed her over the drifts to our cars in Forfar. As she climbed over 10′ drifts, the high heels of her winter boots barely dented the snow.

21 December, 2013

5:00 AM. It’s raining straight down, not too hard. The moisture’s disappearing into the snow. The only evidence of ice formation is on the side windows of my tractor, which will require extensive scraping before I use it to move about five inches of fine-grained snow which has accumulated over the last day. But the very light crust (so far) is likely better on top of a snow pad than formed as an ice sheet on bare gravel.

I hope this doesn’t become a journal of another Ice Storm, but who can resist the Weather Channel’s hype?

11:30 AM. It’s a bit damp but not that bad outside. I worked most of the morning on a piece of machinery without bothering to remove a car from the garage to run the tractor in. Grip was good for snow removal, though I benefited from chains on the tractor.

5:00 PM. Tony Izatt reported one truck at an ice shack on Newboro Lake, though he had to keep the speed up in his 4WD Ranger to avoid bogging down in the snow during his brief tour of the harbour area.

19 December, 2013

I drilled one hole halfway between Cherry Island and the mainland on Newboro Lake.

Beneath 7″ of dry snow lay 9.0″ of hard ice.

There hasn’t been any vehicular traffic on that lake in the last couple of days, to judge from the tracks.

17 December, 2013

As Tom just told me, the Ice Report is out of date. Sorry. Yesterday the lake was calm and cold, with about six inches of dry snow on it. On my three trips to Smiths Falls today I noticed that Otter Lake is completely frozen now. I don’t know about the centre of the Big Rideau, but it’s frozen as far as the eye can see from Portland.

The OPP in other years have told people to stay off the lakes until there has been a week of sub zero (F) weather. We have almost hit that milestone now, and we had cold weather before the snow could insulate the ice.

Cars were hard to start today because of the cold. I think we’re looking at a winter of good ice. Tomorrow I’ll drill some holes, if there’s time.

Observations would be welcome, especially reports of open water and flow volume.
Either write them in as comments or email them to me at rodcros@gmail.com.

13 December, 2013

While I haven’t measured ice thicknesses out on the main pools of local lakes, I’m pretty sure that the ice in bays and shallow harbours should be good. It’s been cold for the last week in North Leeds and I have no reason to believe there’d be runoff to erode the ice as water levels are low.

We plan to ice fish tomorrow using a UTV for transportation. Loaded, it will weigh 1750 pounds, and I expect the ice to hold it.

10 December, 2013

6″ of hard ice off Bay Street in Newboro this afternoon. The ice alternates between glare and pebbled surfaces.

I checked the public launch site and found the ice near the ramp dangerously weak from salt runoff. I drilled a hole through 4.5″ of ice and got murky water which stained around the hole. They’re doing a lot of work on docks and landscaping. The sloped parking lot is heavily sanded. In fact, all of the floating docks are now sitting in the parking lot.

No fish.

8 December, 2013

Tony Izatt reports that his neighbour Bob French is fishing on the ice today with his ATV. He told Tony that he measured 4.5″ all of the way across to McCaskill’s. An ATV’s several hundred pounds lighter than a UTV. I think I’ll wait for 6″ before I take a 1200 lb. vehicle onto the ice. Besides, conditions are ideal for firewood-cutting.

7 December, 2013

ice depth reading

Off the launch ramp at the end of Bay Street in Newboro I observed 3.5″ of new ice in the clear areas which had obviously melted and refrozen during the last week. In the older ice (characterized by a white/gray colour) I measured 4.5″ in two locations within 50′ of shore.

I plan to walk out on it a short distance to fish for crappies and largemouths later today.

Update, evening: It was cold, the ice too thin for travel, and the fish non-existent at this location. Maybe a freeze will provide more ice before bass season closes.

6 December, 2013

We woke up this morning and the snow was gone. The areas covered by ice in local lakes haven’t opened up, though.

4 December, 2013

For the last few days in North Leeds it has grown a little milder, with little wind. There’s still enough snow on the ground and in the woods to discourage casual drives with a 2WD utility vehicle, but it’s relatively easy to walk through it. With no wish for a winter swim, I have made excuses to avoid that first trip out to measure ice depths.

1 December, 2013

Turns out bass season doesn’t close until December 15th. So that means an ice fishing season for largemouth and smallmouth bass.

Expect dangerously early traffic on the ice this year. I hope we get through the next two weeks without catastrophe.

30 November, 2013


29 November, 2013:

George Kitching requested a link to the Len’s Cove Webcam, so here goes:


I’d love to post links to other webcams on the Rideau as they become available.

1 December, 2013

It was cold this morning and I noticed that at Rideau Ferry the Lower Rideau is covered, as is the area in front of the marinas on the west side of the bridge. My aunt’s home overlooks the Upper Rideau near Adam Lake and it’s open off her shore, though Adam Lake seems half-covered.

The Rideau Ferry Marina sheet was like glass for the mile or so I could see. Every time I see a surface like that I wish I owned an ice boat….

28 November, 2013:

Welcome back. There’s ice in the harbour at Newboro and as far as the eye can see from Hwy 42. A look at Devil and Buck Lakes this morning indicated that deeper waters have yet to freeze.

Feel free to check in over the season with observations and comments.

12 Responses to “Ice Report: Winter of 2013-14”

  1. tony iatt Says:

    Wait till I retire and we’ll build a couple of ice boats ….

  2. Rush Says:

    Rod, I’m looking forward to this years ice report!

  3. Tracy barton Says:

    Hello! Assuming that this rather literate and impressive blog belongs to the Rod Croskery, formerly of CPHS. Great fun to read through. A friend of mine, John Kenny, has just published a novel called The Spark and he asked me to review it for him for the Almonte Humm. I thought you would do a far better job – it is a detective/mystery novel-and am wondering if you would be interested? I am on the road, but can be reached at the email I provided. Hope all is well and Merry Christmas!

  4. Anonymous Says:

    Regarding your photo from 30 December, I must say that this image has a very strong narrative.

  5. Lochviewcottage Says:

    I walked across from township docks on Newboro lake to McCaskill to open up Lochview cottage for the winter season. Good foot of ice everywhere and walking was great, sheer ice with a dusting of snow. One ice hut out but evidence of other fishmen and snowmobiles out there and even a truck.

    • Lochviewcottage Says:

      Spent the weekend at Lochview cottage on McCaskill Island. Drilled some holes near the shore and got 15″ of solid black ice, but in the center of the lake were it bows down there is a thick layer, 12 in, and then some snow/slush and another 2″in layer. My Bravo snowmobile was fine but if you drove on it I am sure you would break through the thin layer and bog down in the slush.

      Nevertheless had a great weekend opening up. Next weekend we start on the curling rink.

  6. john Lee Says:

    Newboro Lake is a lake in a lake. 8 in of water on the surface of 20 in of ice. Some of the old fishing holes have acted like sink drains for surface water to run into but they have opened up to 2 or 3 feet in diameter, big enough to fall through if you are not careful. Marked 4 of them between township dock and McCaskill island. Will be breaking out the canoe soon.

  7. Lochviewcottage Says:

    Have a report the New township docks at Newboro that have been sitting on top of the ice have now brocken through but need to get Pictures.

  8. Keith Cauwenberghs Says:

    I can still see ice this morning from our cottage on Swallows Lane. The ice I see is off in the distance as I look at the east end of Makay Island. But the bulk of the ice is now gone as I look down the lake towards Cherry Island and the main docks.

  9. Lochviewcottage Says:

    I know people are on Newboro today, and I am heading up this afternoon to launch and head across to McCaskill. Will report any burg that I see.

  10. Keith Cauwenberghs Says:

    Hopefully the ice is gone! It certainly has been a long winter with ice from late November until late April. Just curious, is this one of the longest periods of ice on the lake? Also has the lake levels dropped significantly yet? I have never seen the lake so high.

  11. Keith Cauwenberghs Says:

    With your post announcing the bragging rites I now feel that indeed spring has sprung. Congrats to the winner.

Leave a Reply to Lochviewcottage Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: