14 April, 2011: The Big Rideau was blowing two-foot swells into Portland this morning, so I think I may safely conclude that the ice is now out.

It’s been fun. Have a good summer.


10 April, 2011: I spent a relaxed half-hour casting off the Portland municipal dock this evening.  The ice is about 100′ out from shore, and doesn’t look very strong.  Nonetheless there is a lot of it out there, and it will take time and heat to melt.

Ice Out — Newboro Lake

At least as far as you can see from McCaskill’s Island. This morning at the public dock I watched a pontoon boat come ashore and disgorge four cold, but euphoric voyageurs. Bill and Kohar Palimenakos and their guests Perry and Soula Pezoulas came back in after the first night at the cottage this year. Perry joked: “Bill and Kohar have the motto: ‘Last to leave, first to open.’

Bill quipped. “Yes, this year we opened up the day before the ice went out.” Then they all jumped in telling me about how they battered their way through the ice with two-by-fours to make way for the trusty pontoon boat. Quite a bit of youthful exuberance there, great to see in adults. I guess that’s what cottage life is about.

The 48 hour dock at the lockstation is pretty wrecked. That ought to be interesting. Greg, Tony’s neighbour, told me that the pack ice did quite a bit of damage in Newboro and around the islands before it disappeared yesterday afternoon, though the sudden rise in water level after the big rain a couple of weeks ago probably set the stage for the damage.

Another conversation at the dock provided news that Fisherman’s Bay on Opinicon is now free of ice, so likely Opinicon’s open, as well.

With any luck no one will report that the other end of Newboro is still socked in, and the ice-out claim will stand.

9 April, 2011: Tony Izatt again: “The ice has destroyed the lower concrete dock at the Newboro Lockstation (the blueline). John Watt say’s it’s done. Not sure what Parks will do.”


8 April, 2011: Tony Izatt reported that the ice is largely out of the area to the east of his dock (the sanctuary marsh) and now he reports the following:

“Really thin ice breaking on the floating docks at the municipal marina in Newboro. The slight breeze is really moving it around. I think the shore line and docks (along the north shore) are safe from damage now. I’d guess with the warm weather coming the ice will be out in the next couple of days.”

Of course nobody has been waiting for this news !

7 April, 2011: Paul Peden discovered that Len’s Cove in Portland has a live cam.


5 April, 2011: Hang in there, me hearties, it won’t be long now. I checked Newboro this morning. From the launch ramp near Tony’s dock to Cherry Island to the public dock is now easily navigable. There’s still some pack ice attached to the main sheet towards the middle of the bay, but the ice has receded past the end of the public dock. Mind you, the docks at the Lock still appear to be icebound by my cursory look.

The lake is still iced in but the water level is exceptionally high, and this causes some pulling away from shore, extensive in some areas. I haven’t seen any evidence yet of pack ice moving, and that’s good. With any luck it will die where it sits.

31 March, 2011: I’ve been too preoccupied with seasonal things (election, sugar-making) to look at a lake, but it’s been frozen solid around here until yesterday, so don’t expect any ice movement for a while yet.  Sorry about the lack of information.  I’ll try to get around to have a look, but there isn’t much to see just yet.

The one thing I can tell you is that there is much less mud now than before the freeze up last week.  My Ranger can now make its way anywhere in the woodlot with a bit of caution, whereas before it was practically floating across the sod in many areas.  Today’s sap run is the heaviest I have seen in seven years of sporadic sugar production.

27 March, 2011: I think the freeze has made a considerable amount of ice this week.  When I nipped up to check on Tony’s bubbler, I wasn’t surprised to find the geese enjoying a band of open water clear across from the dock to Cherry Island.  What did surprise me, though, was how the ice had filled back in around the dock and boathouse no longer directly in the pump’s stream.

Tony offered to come up to change the setting, but that’s a lot of driving and I doubt if any ice will break up before next weekend.

17 March, 2011: A picture’s worth a thousand words, eh? Here are five of the bubbler under Tony’s dock in Newboro.


7 March, 2011: I drilled through thick ice and frozen slush today to install a sump pump under Tony’s dock at the end of Water Street in Newboro to relieve pressure on the posts from the rising water level.  I did not observe such pressure around the dock, but the flooding on Chant’s field and ditch near Crosby indicates a lot of water waiting to make its way into the lake.  This field normally lies about two feet above the water level of the lake.

By the time I got to Newboro a work crew had already closed off the Water Street entrance to the lake, posting a Thin Ice warning and erecting snow fence across the ramp.  I assume this was in response to Tony’s morning email, though the vehicle tracks on the ice were sunken deeply into the  slush from salt and sand erosion when I looked at them on the weekend, so the closure may have simply been the action of saner heads acting in anticipation of a potential problem.

When I looked at Washburn Lock today there was a lot of water going through.  I wonder how much electricity that hydro station produces at full flow like this?

Tom Stutzman in Reading PA reports the ice went out of his pond yesterday and huge V’s of geese are passing overhead.  So I guess it’s time to start speculating as to the date of ice-out on the upper lakes this year…

4 March, 2011:  On a visit to Newboro this evening I noticed that there are some pronounced ruts at the ramps from salt and vehicles, though the bulk of the ice seems solid and nearly glare.  I had reason to try to jack up a section of a dock with a hydraulic jack, and the ice seemed solid underneath, even when I exerted about two tons of pressure onto a three square-foot plank.  The ice seemed solidly bonded to the steel posts and the water level is still quite low.

3 March, 2011: No, I haven’t fallen through the ice in some back bay. It’s just been a perfect time to get a lot of sawdust made in the shop before sugar making begins.

The Review-Mirror this week shows a photo of a large pressure ridge which effectively cut Wolfe Lake in two for the pickerel derby last weekend.

Things seem to be a bit late this year.  The boys tapped on the last day of February in 2010, if I remember correctly.  The first boil was during the Canada-USA hockey game, because my crew would have let the pan boil dry during overtime if I hadn’t intervened.

The year before that Tony and I mushed around the decaying ice on planks to get his dock built by the March 15th deadline.

There’s still too much snow in the woods for convenient sap-gathering this year so far, though that can change quickly, so get ready for spring madness.

17 February, 2011: I think we’ve crested the hill of this winter, because this morning was achingly beautiful on Young’s Hill, the kind of ache which needs some time along moving water to calm. So in I went to the spillway in Chaffey’s beside the Old Mill. There’s a well-established track through the deep snow down to the end of the point. Apparently I’m not the only winter fisherman.

I tossed a lure into the moderate current while watching a large bird swim out past the little islands. It was the size of a Trumpeter swan, but dark in colour, and mercifully quiet. Ice cover is half-way out the 48 hour dock from the lock, so I tossed to the edge of the ice a couple of times. Thought I saw a flash behind the lure once, but it was likely a combination of sun and clouds. It seemed like a splake at the time, though.

I parked near Dorothy’s, decided against snowshoes to get to the water’s edge, and walked up the road under the railroad bridge instead. Vehicles have had a wicked time getting up that little hill lately, to judge by the tracks. One car took out some sumacs when it went between the driveway and the turn, and the whole hill was pock-marked with holes created by spinning wheels. Glad I walked.

A visit to the Isthmus separating Indian and Clear Lakes seemed indicated, so I tried a few casts there and saw a pair of Trumpeters living around the bubbler on the boathouse just to the north of the Ferry. The open water from this bubbler would be a factor for anyone trying to get to the Island on the ice, so be warned.

The ice isn’t open all that far out either way. The navigation markers on Indian are iced in. While standing on the Ferry I could see a couple of vehicles (ATV-sized) and a few people out on Indian, obviously fishing splake.

It was a pleasant outing and I was able to return home in time for lunch. That’s freedom of a sort.

15 February, 2011The Dog Races are canceled.  http://www.twprideaulakes.on.ca/dogsledraces/

An expedition this afternoon into our woodlot taught me a bit about outdoor travel conditions at the moment in this area.  To my surprise the snowshoeing was brutal today.  A thin crust masked a foot of snow underneath, and the modern-format snowshoes wouldn’t support me on the upper layer.  I found myself looking around for wolf tracks because I could make better progress on their frozen path than flailing along on my own. From the looks of the snow after yesterday’s big thaw, it will take a week of freeze/thaw cycles to establish a decent crust for off-trail freedom of movement.  I’ll either wait, or else get out the old Ski-Doo Alpine to do some trail-grooming.

14 February, 2011:  I ran up to Newboro to check the ice after the carnival weekend.  The rink around the public dock area looks good.  Everything else is a mess.  A truck seems to have gotten onto and off the ice at the public dock, but the ruts up the launch ramp were pretty ugly.  When this freeze goes through it may be a completely different situation on the ice, but at the moment you’d have to be crazy to go out there.

I did notice that the snow has been cleared from the dog-teams area around the Lockstation, as though they plan to go through with the races.  This freeze should firm things up nicely on the lake, if it stays cold.  But my wife at noon today said they’re calling for springlike temperatures on Thursday and Friday.  I won’t try to sound like an Ottawa pollster here, but the implications for the Newboro dog sled race on the weekend are pretty self-evident.

11 February, 2011:  More details on the trucks-through-the-ice incident

Stout’s Lower Bay summer resident Tom Stutzman forwarded this from Rush Cahall of Fingerboard Island, and so on.  I deleted the email addresses out of respect for the privacy of the correspondents.

Here is some more info on the two trucks who went through the ice. Weasie is Bob Moore’s sister who works for the Review Mirror.

“Hey Rush…. yep, it’s true…. I’m not sure what island they were working on, but some contractors had been going back and forth for a couple of days, and oops! In they went. The truck of Greg Courneya of Elgin (a roofer) went through the ice first and his co-worker/partner Rick Warriner of Newboro went out with his truck to help rescue him and he went in, too! Rick and his brother were able to get out of his truck because his truck door got stuck up on the ice and they were able to get out. Wow!  Wouldn’t that be a scary experience? Luckily they got out un-harmed, but both trucks are still there. Their insurance adjuster has hired a company from Ottawa to remove them, but they’ve been unable to do so as yet.”


10 February, 2011The Review Mirror this week states that the Newboro Ice Fishing Derby will run as scheduled on Sunday, February 13th, but participants are asked not to take cars or trucks onto the ice. ATVs or snowmobiles are acceptable to organizer Doug Burtch, but the ice isn’t good enough this year for trucks. The paper also has a photo of the truck which went through, allowing the three occupants to escape uninjured only because the driver’s door hung up on the ice on its way to a watery grave.

My wife heard on the news of the death from exposure of a 54 year-old Smiths Falls man after his truck became stuck on the ice near Port Elmsley.  Later word on this indicates that ice failure may not have been a factor in this death, though.  The guy froze to death in an ice fishing shack.

5 February, 2011 Almost no vehicular traffic onto the lake at Newboro. A couple of snow-filled snowmobile tracks were about it. A few people were heading across to Mulcaster Island on foot, though. Slush is a major factor in the lack of traffic, I would imagine.

29 January, 2011: Miserable morning on Newboro Lake today: snow’s fairly deep by lake standards, with slush underfoot. Driving 4WD vehicles is awkward because of ruts frozen up almost to the surface in some places, and puddles of slush trapped between ruts in others. Where we drilled there was lots of ice. The top cover is the issue for travel on the lake now. Over the last week we have had sneaky accumulations of snow each day, with little wind or rain. So there’s a lot of dry powder sitting on top of the ice, with water seeping up from underneath.

Tony’s neighbour in Newboro reported this: Note: Cole just told me 2 trucks went through the ice in the channel down from the locks. They’re on the bottom of the lake. No fatalities. They were heading out to do some work on a cottage. The one truck went through and when the other tried to pull it out it also went through.

Ulp! My son looked back to his days as a student working at Parks Canada and told me that there is no way to shut off the flow of water through a lock over the winter. So it’s logical that there would be a current down the channel from the Newboro Lock. I never would have thought of that.

21 January, 2011: Tony Izatt reports, “Two people told me to be careful out there on Newboro Lake today. There’s a spot by those two shacks, between them and the shore that only has 3″ of ice. So we are seeing variations all over for some reason or another. No current on the lake so I don’t know why. Thickest ice I’ve found is about 14″, thinnest about 9″, and I’d guess I’ve drilled close to 20 holes in the past two days. So care must be taken out there yet.”

For details of Tony’s late-afternoon fishing expedition, check the post for January 21st.

20 January, 2011: There was lots of ice on Newboro Lake (14″ where I drilled) but the six inches of snow with occasional thicker cover from drifts made using the Ranger a chancy proposition today. Underlying slush did not help the overall miserable driving conditions for a 2WD utility vehicle with the differential locked. My friend’s 4WD Toyota 4Runner did fine in the same conditions, though.

15 January, 2011: A drive to Kingston and then along the river to the Bridge and Alexandria Bay produced a variety of ice observations on a glorious winter day.

The harbour in Kingston is frozen north of the LaSalle Causeway. There’s crusted ice in the outer harbour but the Ferry had clear sailing to Wolfe Island. As we proceeded down Hwy 2 we saw little open water except when we peeked around the end of Howe Island to the other side, which was open. Of course it’s mainly open around Rockport and the Grenadiers. We observed ice fishermen off the east end of Wellesley Island.

I’d hoped to see eagles above the open water, but the loons carried the day. Three cavorted in the open water off Alexandria Bay as we ate lunch at the Riveredge.

BTW: a couple of days ago Tom Stutzman reported 4″ of ice on his pond just south of Reading, Pennsylvania.

9 January, 2011: First ice fishing trip of the season on Newboro Lake near Newboro

Ice thickness observed ranged from 14″ in a wind-swept passage between islands to 7″ in a sheltered area near rocks. Most ice was about 9″ thick with three inches of dry snow on top. Not many people were out on the lake yet. Some walked out to fish or work on cottages, though two full-sized vehicles driven by fishermen were parked along where we were fishing. Our 1000-pound utility vehicle seemed to get along fine on the ice today.

7 January, 2011:

Last night a man was killed when his snowmobile broke through the ice on Buckhorn Lake, near Peterborough.

From the Weather Channel

Mike Farr from the Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs believes you should avoid riding on ice if you’re not sure its safe.

“You can only check ice by actually checking the thickness of it. You can’t tell looking at it from the shore if it’s safe or not safe. If you don’t know, or a snowmobiler doesn’t know if the ice is safe they should not be going out on it, period.”

6 January:

Today Smiths Falls locksmith Tom Clark was away from his shop “to help a deer caught in the ice” according to his wife. I’m inferring that the deer incident would be in the vicinity of Tom’s property on Bacchus Island on the Lower Rideau.

So while Otter Lake now is white from shore to shore, things are falling through.

4 January, 2011:

A word of caution: I observed a lot of open water today on Otter Lake. This would indicate that the line between freeze and thaw is a narrow one this year. Otter Lake often turns over due to its depth and springs feeding the outflow. It doesn’t usually open up as a result, though. What I would infer from this is that there’s good ice as long as there hasn’t been ANY turbulence or current. Stay away from questionable areas until we get at least a week of subzero weather with little snow cover.

3 January, 2011:

The Skate the Lake organizers in Portland have just reported 9″ of good ice in the Harbour.

Mark Conboy at Queen’s reported the following:

> The lake I live on, Opinicon (southern Rideau Canal system), was
> perfect for shore to shore skating after the rains and re-freezing of
> late. During such a skate yesterday on 21 cm (8 1/4″) thick ice I found 7
> northern leopard frogs dead and frozen to the ice surface. Many of the
> frogs were within 40 m of shore but 2 were over 200 m out. There were
> also 2 virile crayfish (Orconectes virilis), one frozen and dead on
> the ice, the other appearing dead at the time but I did manage to
> eventually resurrect it and by this morning it was healthfully
> investigating the subtropical-temperature waters of my empty fish
> tank. The crayfish were within 20 m of nearby Sheep Island. I also
> collected 2 Helisoma snails and 6 banded mystery snails (Viviparus
> georgianus) all of which apparently met the same fate as the frogs and
> crayfish.
> Mark

2 January, 2011:

At Newboro I observed 7″ of clear ice over two holes out a bit from the north shore. No one was in evidence on the lake, but it was a miserable day with the wind. There’s a fair amount of sand on the lake from old vehicle tracks.

On Tue, Dec 28, 2010 at 9:21 AM, Mark Conboy wrote:


I have now skied many of the back lakes on the Queen’s University Biology Station properties. They are all frozen enough to support my meager weight. I also crossed
Opinicon on skis yesterday morning.


Tuesday, December 21, 2010: Mark Conboy reports 12 cm of ice on Opinicon Lake in the vicinity of the Queen’s University Biology Station.  He further mentioned that he has skied some of the shoreline of Opinicon and that ice fishing is well under way on Rock Lake. Check out the QUBS website which Mark maintains.  “Turkey Dinner,” an analysis of the content of the crops of a few turkeys taken in the fall,  is a highly interesting report, and a 25-year history of ice movement on Opinicon Lake is there, as well.


Monday, December 20, 2010:

I checked out the waterfront in Newboro today and would suggest a delay before planning any expeditions onto the lake.  At the public dock there are footprints on the ice, but there is also an ominous hole beside the floating dock, about half-way out.  Over at the end of Water Street there is a rink plowed by ATV and a vehicle has done a cautious loop out onto the ice, but I wouldn’t try it after a look at the spring hole which has emerged through the snow cover just to the left of the launch ramp.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

On Sun, Dec 19, 2010 at 6:45 PM, Izatt, Tony <TIzatt@justice.gc.ca> wrote:


Couldn’t smash a hole in the ice at the dock (on Newboro Lake in the village), then Rose told me Bob French had driven his van out on the ice the other day. His tracks were still evident out about 100′ in front of the dock. The Moncks have driven their ATV out and ploughed a rink just off their dock. So I guess the ice is 6-8″ already.


Saturday, December 18, 2010:

So it begins. From Hwy 15 in Portland today I could see snow covering the ice out as far as visibility allowed. The snow appeared to reach the large islands in the middle of the lake, though this may have been an illusion. One enterprising soul has placed an ice fishing shack out in the wide, shallow bay next to the park/boat launch ramp to the east of the village.

On Otter Lake I could see open water in the middle of the pool nearest the road, and open water in the larger pool to the northeast.

This report came back from Pennsylvania via Tom Stutzman:

From: carlmavety
To: rushramone@aol.com
Sent: Saturday, December 18, 2010, 2010 4:35 pm
Subject: Re: Lake frozen yet?

It froze Dec 8/9. I was up last week.
Only 1.5 – 2 inches as of Tuesday.
It is frozen from Newboro to Fingerboard, open still beyond there.
It was windy and that kept it from freezing earlier.

2 Responses to “ICE REPORTS, 2010-11 (completed)”

  1. Doug Fyfe Says:

    Thanks very much for the update regarding Newboro Lake – I am very keen to get out there.


  2. Kohar and Bill Says:

    It was great to be back at the lake and meet the author of the blog Bill and I frequent. Yes, we woke up this morning to beautiful sunshine and the ice was all gone. Another spring on Newboro Lake.

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