In closing this large file I’d like to offer a note of thanks to John Lee, Louise Pritchard, Tony Izatt, Maggie Fleming, Anne DesLauriers and Pete Frey for their spot reporting this season.  

1 April, 2016   7th Annual Newboro Lake Ice-out Contest winner responds:

Hello Rod,

It is with great humility that I accept the bragging rights mantle for this year.  During my tenure I will endeavor to keep my swaggering to a minimum, my sage advice to myself and the air clear of smug self–satisfaction.  Please note however, the auspicious date on which I accept this great honor.

Now, with that out of the way:  thanks Rod for organizing, updating and officiating the Ice Report and Ice-In / Ice-out contests.  I really enjoy following the posts throughout the winter.  I’m looking forward to exercising my “rights” this summer!

Best regards,

Jim Waterbury

31 March, 2016

At 11:37 a.m. today former Ice-out Contest winner Louise Pritchard reported that there is no more ice along the north shore of McCaskill Island.  She and fellow reporter Tony Izatt suggested that it’s time to name a winner in the contest, so I’ll tentatively do so, subject to a report from Pete Frey on the small bays near Grass Point.


5:41 p.m.  “Rod, I think you can declare tonight.  Not much left of the miserable patch of ice in the bay, only what’s in the shadow of the tree.”  Pete Frey

5:44 p.m.  Jim Waterbury of Lewis Island selected March 31st as his entry in the contest, and subject to overwhelming evidence that an ice floe has continued on Newboro Lake past sundown today, I shall declare him this year’s winner.
Of course we shall be on the lookout for Mr. Waterbury’s note in which he joins the growing cadre of the wise by accepting the bragging rights conferred by this award.
Jim, you may affix your acceptance speech as a comment on this post or you may send it to
Thank you all for your participation and enthusiasm over the ice season.
Rod Croskery
The Walnut Diary
30 March, 2016  7:15 p.m.  Reliable reports of a band of ice along the north shore of McCaskill Island and a further report of remaining ice in the bays between Grass Point and the Lock force me to conclude that for purposes of the Ice-out Contest the ice is not yet out of Newboro Lake.

9:45 a.m.  Big Rideau property owner Grant Stone informs me that it’s very noisy right now at the tip of Hudson Bay with the wind taking the ice off his shore and smashing it into the eastern shore about a quarter mile away.

7:00 a.m.  Pete Frey sent this photo of the last bit of ice in the bay between Grass Point and the Lock.




29 March, 2016

6:46  John Watt reports:

On Opinicon Lake yesterday there was no ice in Murphy’s Bay from Chaffey’s to Barrel Pt and no ice pretty much from Queen’s Biological Station and Barrel Point Station to Price Green Island.  From Queen’s to Sky Croft from our cottage it looked like the ice was getting pretty sketchy and if it’s not out after today on Opinicon, I would be surprised if it’s there by Thursday.


6:00 p.m.  Notwithstanding the photo of the winsome blonde above which Mark Moyle posted on Facebook, today is not ice-out day for Newboro Lake.  While the main pool is now clear of floating ice, a not insignificant amount of it has made its way down into Rosal Bay.  Despite the potential early death of blowing pack ice, at the very southern point of Rosal Bay I observed a harboured floe of an area considerably larger than the stated minimum for the contest.  Unless someone gets at it with a hatchet and sends me photos of the carnage, I feel comfortable in declaring that the contest does not yet have a winner.

3:40 p.m.  Maggie Fleming reports:  To all intents and purposes the ice is out of the lake. A little bit remains at the shore of McCaskill.  

The 100-square-foot-floating-section-of-contiguous-ice rule has little to do with practical navigation, but it nevertheless will determine ice-out day this year.

On a drive from Kingston to Newboro I saw no ice in Loborough Lake, about 50% cover in Buck Lake, enough ice to walk across Devil Lake, ditto for the canal under the Hwy 42 bridge in Newboro, with McNally’s Bay on the Little Rideau pretty well solid.

If you wanted to set foot on any island on Newboro Lake at the North end, chances are you could do so, though there’s some ice on the north side of McCaskills and Steadmans.  I don’t know what’s going on out around the Ramsay Islands yet.

Grant Stone told me that the wind has opened up seams across the Big Rideau, though the ice remains tight to shore in his area.

Further observations to broaden the scope of these reports would be welcome at this stage.

7:15 a.m. Pete Frey reports about the area around Grass Point:  I still have ice in both  bays and also in front of the cottages at the Lock .

28 March, 2016

3:13 p.m. (Facebook)  Kathy Mussell reports:

Ice breaking up on Newboro Lake! Will be gone by morning. South wind ice moving towards village.


As well, Liz Huff just reported from Seeley’s Bay that their ice sank, and canoeing season has begun.

12:20 p.m.   Tony Izatt reports:

Got in the door around 11am and said to Anne by the looks of it the open water in front of our dock and the open water in front of the boathouse on Cherry island would be one by tomorrow. Well I just glanced out the window and we’re clear clean across. The thin ice sheet that was between us broke off and collided with shoreline in front of Louise Pritchard’s property.  The west wind did the job  in less than and hour. 

8:00 a.m.  Maggie Fleming reports:

There were great swaths of water off McCaskell’s island and Lottie’s Isle and ice retreating from the shore yesterday. With the rain I would not be surprised to see the ice go today but will bet it will be gone by w/e.

25 March, 2016

6:35 p.m.

Grass point is beginning to open up and if you look beyond little Lewis island there is lots of open water in the shallows.


9:00 a.m.  I’m looking out at the effects of a moderate ice storm.  Driveway’s glare to the point that skates would work, I think.

Power grid’s O.K. in this area (  likely because there hasn’t been much accretion on wires and branches, just on the ground.

Hwy 15 and the 401 are listed as good, but so far the Weather Network remains largely silent about other roads.

24 March, 2016

A truly miserable morning out there with slick highways and freezing rain due at mid-day.

Most of the local action in the last week has been in the maple bushes around Newboro Lake.  The modestly titled has lately become quite a detailed account of conditions in the sugar bush.  Have a look.

21 March, 2016

The hard freeze this morning provided a window.  My neighbour had asked me to winch down a dead elm tree onto the adjoining ploughed field.  This area had been brown gumbo for the last week, but today my tractor bumped over the frozen mud.  I set the brakes, lowered the winch into the ground, and fastened onto the chain John had fastened 16′ up the trunk.  The PTO-driven winch put tension on the elm to prevent the thing starting in the wrong direction. I made the wedge-shaped cut, then John stood by at the tractor, 150′ away, to engage the winch at my signal.  Following my initial cut around the back of the tree I tapped in a wedge, then continued cutting the large trunk from both sides.  As soon as the trunk moved off the plastic wedge as I completed the cut, he tipped it on over.  2″ of solid wood in the centre of the trunk made a strong hinge to control the tree’s direction, but the tractor/winch had enough power to pull it over, anyway.

The added safety margin of the winch justifies keeping it and the tractor which drives it.

By afternoon the sap was running.

20 March, 2016

Two cold nights have firmed up the ice on Bellamy Lake, and on Newboro Lake, as well, but as Tony Izatt just advised, “I still wouldn’t walk on it.”

18 March 2016

Between Phillipsville and Toledo in Leeds County, Ontario, lies Bellamy Lake.  Its surface looks black and fragmented enough at the edges that I wouldn’t be surprised if it went out any day now.  I’ve been watching a hole out from shore a bit which might have been made by a man or an ATV.  It’s showing crystalline structures around its margins, indicating very weak ice.


16 March 2016

Seven years ago today a small crew of volunteers put together Tony and Anne’s dock on the Newboro waterfront.  The ice was strong enough to hold a 75 hp tractor to push down the 6″ steel posts, but a couple of days later it was so weak we couldn’t walk on it.


Thanks to Tony Izatt for the historic photograph.  That looks like welder/designer Peter Myers in the foreground.

13 March, 2016

Tony  commented that local firefighter Bob French continues to use his ATV on the ice.

12 March, 2016

Tony Izatt titled this Melted.



At the farm (meanwhile, back at the ranch) things are drying up nicely.  On the lawn this afternoon I dug out a black cherry seedling which didn’t enjoy wet roots and substituted a vigorous white birch from an even damper spot on the property.

10 March, 2016

I went to Newboro Lake today to check on water levels and ice movement.  The creek at Crosby is very full, which would indicate a high water level.  Apart from that, there wasn’t much in particular about the ice.

9 March, 2016

2016 Ice-Out Contest entries will be accepted up until 11:59, Saturday, March 12.

8 March, 2016

Swept up by the atavistic urge to hew wood and haul water, today I discovered a pleasant introduction to spring:


6 March, 2016

Ice core samples taken off Newboro are worth note:  50′ off the north shore of the harbour shore I recorded 14″ ice, but nearer to shore, inside the L of Tony Izatt’s dock, I found only 8″ ice beneath a snowbank, above 28″ water.


4 March, 2016

A snowmobile run from Forfar to Newboro this afternoon took me across the northeast corner of the lake.  I saw no evidence of slush on the established trail.  In fact, the ice seemed firm with little snow.

Apart from truck tracks running from the public dock through the cut behind Cherry Island, I saw very few vehicle tracks off the main trail, and no evidence of ice fishing in the usual spot.

26 February, 2016


For those familiar with the Isthmus and the ferry to Scott Island, you’ll realize in this picture that the water has opened all of the way across to the opposite shore of Indian Lake.  I further observed today that the flow at Chaffey’s Lock was so fast the water’s skipping over the shoal between the point and the little island, only to rejoin the channel after the dogleg at the red markers.  Water’s open clear out into the middle of the big bay — past the green marker.

With that kind of flow ice is very unpredictable.  Don’t take a chance.

22 February, 2016

This has been the first decent day for the snowmobile in a long time.    If anyone has a slush report for the lake I’d prefer to find the information here, rather than by getting stuck in the stuff.

Here’s a shot from the Bridge at Chaffey’s Locks.



16 February, 2016

While it was not a snowfall of biblical proportions like the storm that buried Tom and Kate Stutzman’s truck in southern Pennsylvania, it was sufficient to prevent traffic on our road today.  I saw one large tractor make the trip.  At some point while I wasn’t watching, a township plow made one pass but left the other side undone.

When I backed the snowblowing tractor to the end of our driveway, it was hard to tell where the driveway ended and Young’s Hill Road began.  Visibility wasn’t the best.

The tractor ran about three hours today to handle the steady snowfall, and there’ll be another hour or two tomorrow morning to tidy up after the storm.

15 February, 2016

The Wiltsie Creek Studio on Charleston Lake this morning posted photos of a bevy of swans in a stream where there would normally be ice.

14 February, 2016

John Lee reports:

Been at the cottage since Friday, cold but settled in. Drilled water hole Saturday and it is a good solid 8-10 in black ice in front of McCaskill.

This morning is the fishing derby, walk on but nevertheless there are about half a dozen tucks on the lake. I have my Bravo snowmobile out.


13 February, 2016

At -18 F this morning with a strong North wind and little snow, it’s got to be making ice.  How safe lake travel will be depends upon the flow at Chaffey’s Locks.

It turns out there’s a lot of water moving at Chaffey’s.  The Scott Island ferry’s in full operation, as well.

11 February, 2016

Zero degrees Fahrenheit this morning, with a sharp north wind.  A few more nights of this weather and we’ll have good ice.  There’s little snow cover to insulate right now.

I saw little evidence of travel on the lake today, though the snow is relatively fresh.

10 February, 2016

On the Rideau River today just downstream of Edmumd’s Lock the ice was breaking up as if it were spring.

This is an odd February.  Roz sent me a message from Vancouver tonight which said that spring has already arrived in their neighbourhood.

8 February, 2016

Ice cover on the Great Lakes is only 5.7% so far this year, up from 3% on January 11.

This means a lot of lake-effect precipitation.

5 February, 2016

Does anyone have any ice observations to contribute?  I’ve been too busy with bare-ground things to bother with the lakes of late.

1 February, 2016

For anyone wondering about the quality of lake ice in this area after the rain and warm weather I’d like to mention that I dug carrots from our garden this afternoon when I discovered little frost and lots of mud beneath my fork.

30 January, 2016

CBC’s The National this evening briefly reported three snowmobile fatalities in two separate accidents on lakes.


OPP asking people to please stay off of the ice – mild weather and rain in the forecast – your safety is our priority! NO ICE IS SAFE ICE!

25 January, 2016

We were on the lake all weekend, drilled pilot holes from Township Dock to McCaskill and the ice was a consistent 8-10 in of black ice. Had my Bravo on the lake as well. Have not seen any sign of vehicles at the ramp but lots of snowmobiles and ATV on the lake.

John Lee

Lochview Cottage

24 January, 2016

Anne Deslauriers commented from Newboro:

Rod, I have been watching pickup trucks and snowmobiles on there today, even an ice fishing shack out there. 

I wonder if the fishermen know there’s 5″ ice in the area?  I commented on the Ski-Doo forum last night about the recent fatality on Inverary Lake and a couple of veteran snowmobilers responded that the ice is no good anywhere in Eastern Ontario so far this winter.

23 January, 2016  BULLETINS

1)  Thin Ice on Newboro Lake
Just got in from clearing and flooding  a rink for the grand kids on the ice in front of our house (Grass Point, Newboro Lake).
I drilled four holes and there is much less ice than I expected.  Still only about 5 to 6 inches.  But I did see a group of skidoos fly buy.
Pete Frey

2)  First fatality of the year on local lakes


23 January, 2016

In Portland this morning photographers found the wind ferociously cold on bare fingers, but contestants and spectators otherwise found the crisp morning perfect for speed skating and curling.


22 January, 2016

Skate the Lake, the annual speed-skating extravaganza on Portland Harbour, runs Saturday and Sunday on the 1 km oval.

I hope readers will soon send along some fresh data on ice depth and coverage of Newboro Lake and surrounding bodies of water.

Reports of weak ice and open water are of considerable importance to fishermen and snowmobilers.

20 January, 2016

In this week’s edition of the Review Mirror, a story on Skate the Lake reported an ice depth of 12″ in Portland Harbour.

14 January, 2016

Louise Pritchard provided an early harbour traffic report:

There has been some activity with a four wheeler that scooted around.  Also I saw one walker who is doing some work on an island.

13 January, 2016

Peter Frey sent a measurement.

Hi Rod
Checked ice about 30ft from shore at the marker this afternoon.  Not quite 5 inches.  I  suspect it’s a bit thinner at the marker as it was the last bit to freeze.

11 January, 2016

Peter Frey reports:

Ice made it through the wind and rain.


10 January, 2016

A report from the shore of Newboro Lake

After two mild days and much rain, Peter Frey reports that: “Yes, the ice is still there, But I wouldn’t venture out. Hopefully it will survive tonight’s wind.”


8 January, 2016

Indian Lake shows a thin, clear sheet of ice, though there’s almost none in areas of current around the bridge.

5 January, 2016

At 9:30 this morning I looked from the agreed vantage point and could see no open water.  I thus feel justified in announcing Tom Stutzman the first winner in the inaugural Newboro Harbour Ice-in Contest.  Check the Contest-Rules post for Tom’s gracious acceptance speech.

NOTE:  Ice-depth reports from various locations around the lake would be appreciated by readers over the next few weeks.

4 January, 2016

Despite the glistening sheet of ice visible from County Road 42 on the way into Newboro, the view from the public dock at 8:30 this morning still featured billowing steam along the north shore of Lewis Island as I looked to the right up the channel.

As to the pending outcome of the Ice-in Contest, I’d expect the strong north wind and 0 degree (F) temperature should take care of this last vestige of open water over the course of today.  Who knows?  This year’s first ice might even stay in.

1 January, 2016

Maggie Fleming reports:

The lake is wide open from the tip of  McCaskills up.

30 December, 2015

Maggie Fleming reports at 10:00 a.m.:

open H2O south end of McCaskill’s to Waterbury’s Island

Louise reports at 8:00 a.m.:

 Where it has rained or iced, the lake is white. However, at the island to the left of Cherry Island, there seems to be an opening. Will take Diesel for a trundle this a.m. and check out around the point. Stay tuned.

Tony Izatt reports at 9:00 a.m.:

The lake in front of me looks completely frozen over.


Bear in mind that the Ice-in Contest “winner” faces a five-day delay over  which the ice sheet must remain intact.

Here’s the link for the Len’s Cove Weathercam which provides a view of Portland Harbour.

29 December, 2015

5:00 p.m.:  Louise Pritchard reports at dark today,

We aren’t iced in yet. Still open water. Will keep you advised.

3:00 p.m.  Snow report:  I’d say four to five inches have accumulated at the moment.  Lots of water in it, though.  The tractor sounded as if it was blowing a foot of lighter snow, and large slabs were breaking up in front of the loader when I tried to plough it

Far from a pretty storm.


24 December, 2015

The most memorable weather observation for me today was when a strong gust pinned me in my car, unable to force the door open until the wind subsided.

The 6:00 Ottawa area news featured film of restaurant patios re-opened and fully-booked golf courses  due to the run of warm weather.  The gusts took out some power lines and definitely whipped up the lakes, but the heat allowed my wife to dig fresh carrots for Christmas dinner from the soft ground of the garden .

It’s hard not to feel that in Eastern Ontario we’re net beneficiaries of the climate change we’re so publicly fighting.  (I may well look back upon these words with rue in late February.)

The Christmas moon rose full to a rosy sky at 4:30 this afternoon but  I don’t think my prediction of a Dec. 25th ice-in is likely to occur.

20 December, 2015

Today we observed ice covering most marshes and quiet bays on the Rideau River between Smiths Falls and Merrickville.

19 December, 2015

Woke up to an icy northwest wind this morning and puddles were frozen, but it was 34.4 F by the time of this writing at 11:00 a.m.  Even though I found an area sheltered by the woodlot, it was unpleasantly cold there for tree-pruning.


14 December, 2015


Tony Izatt used the break in the weather to get in a bit more fishing before bass season closes on the 15th.

Beautiful day out there today.  Who needs ice?

12 December, 2015

It’s 39F outside this morning and seasonal residents are making furtive trips back to the cottage, a bit surprised by the extended run of moderate weather.  Who knows how long it will last?

Be sure to read the rules for the inaugural Ice-in Contest which can be found on the left side of this page at


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