Thursday, April 27, 2006

Why fish in Algonquin Park?

AO General Manager Rich Swift with a nice trout from Tilted Lake

There are many places where you can fish from a motorized craft with all the electronic accoutrements of modern fishing. Generally, the quality of the fishing in such easily accessible areas deteriorates over the years due to a variety of factors, particularly over-fishing and the weakening of natural fish stocks because of the introduction of hatchery and non-native fish.

Fortunately there are a few places, like the interior of Algonquin Park, where the native fishery remains more or less undisturbed and naturally reproducing. This is why dedicated anglers, particularly those interested in trout fishing, will leave their motor boats at home and fish from a canoe in Algonquin Park.

Trout fishing season opens Saturday, April 29.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Opeongo Lake open!

All the melted ice going over Ragged Falls!

Opeongo Lake opened up on Friday, April 21. This is the earliest ice-out in several years and we are ready to go!

If Opeongo is open, it is pretty safe to assume that all other lakes in Algonquin Park are open or will be in a day or so. As you can see from the picture of Ragged Falls above, water levels are extremely high, so be careful out there.

Launching the water taxi at Opeongo Lake - high water but no ice!

I took some nice people from France on a FAM tour on Friday. FAM is a travel industry term for "familiarization" and allows travel and tour operators to visit the places they send their customers. The catch is that they generally get to do these tours in the off-season.

Outfitter takes picture of tour operator being a tourist taking a picture of a cooperative moose

Friday, April 21, 2006

Smoke Lake is open!

Our first kayak rental of the season - Norm and Ian are heading for Smoke Lake this morning!

A quick important ice update:
  • Smoke Lake is open, with some ice floating around.
  • Lake of Two Rivers completely open.
  • Source Lake is open according to Camp Pathfinder staff
  • Canoe Lake is still mostly iced over and not passable.
  • Opeongo Lake is still mostly iced over and not passable.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Canoe trip this weekend? Maybe....

I received an e-mail from a reader of this ice report, wondering if I knew the condition of lakes on the west side of the park, such Tim, Rosebary or Ralph Bice. Unfortunately, we only have information based on what we can see from the highway, the Opeongo dock or hear from park staff and other locals. I have heard no reports on that area but would guess that those lakes are not fully open (the road may not even be open). That area of the park is at a fairly high elevation and gets quite a bit more snowfall than the Hwy 60 area. Try calling the park information line at 705-633-5572 and see if they have any insight.
Smoke Lake still 80% filled with ice on April 19

Lake of Two Rivers almost ice-free on April 19

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Slow but steady progress

While we are exited about the potential for early ice-out this season, it's important to realize that most lakes in Algonquin are still ice-filled and not yet navigable. Opeongo Lake is a good example. As of this morning, there is open water in Sproule Bay and the black ice seen in yesterday's picture is gone. That's the good news. The bad news is that solid white ice can be seen on the horizon at the far end of Sproule Bay. This means that the rest of the lake is still frozen over and has a ways to go. It is safe to extrapolate that big interior lakes like Lavielle, Dickson and Hogan are still completely iced over. If you are really interested in tracking signs of spring, check out the Journey North.

All pictures by Jerry Schmanda, taken with a Fuji FinePix S9000

Sproule Bay at the south end of Opeongo Lake, April 18. White ice on the horizon!

The island on Lake of Two Rivers, April 18. East end of the lake is open, west end filled with ice.

Source Lake on April 18, taken from the landing.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Ice going quickly along Hwy 60!

Our Opeongo Store manager, Jerry Schmanda, took these pictures on his way to and from Opeongo yesterday. After many seasons watching ice-out in Algonquin Park, Jerry predicts,
"If the current heat wave continues, every lake will be open by opening day."

For those of you not plugged in to trout angler jargon, "opening day" is the first day of trout season in Algonquin Park. Always the last Saturday in April, the date for this year is April 29.

Check the weather and hope that he is right!

Tea Lake fom Hwy 60 - half open with black ice

Smoke Lake on April 17 - ice covered but going quickly

Black ice on Cache Lake - April 17

Broken ice floating around on Lake of Two Rivers

South Arm of Opeongo Lake on April 17- looking good for opening day!

A sure sign of spring: moose watchers spotted in Algonquin Park
(we don't recommend getting that close!)

Monday, April 17, 2006

What a difference a few days make!

Here's a short ice update - we hope to have pictures tomorrow.

Huntsville area lakes, including Lake of Bays: ice free

Oxtongue Lake: about half open. There are big sheets
of ice floating around the southern end of the lake and the bay in front of our store . Given the weather forecast I would predict that Oxtongue Lake will be completely open in the next few days.

Algonquin Park (lakes that can be seen from Hwy 60):
  • Smoke Lake: ice-covered with about 20' of open water around the shoreline
  • Lake of Two Rivers: half open. This lake, like Rock Lake, is part of the Madawaska River system and has a a lot of flow in and out of each end, helping move things along.
  • Opeongo Lake: I'll have a first hand report, and hopefully pictures, tomorrow.
  • Canoe Lake: check the Electric Penguin report
Public safety message:

Just because there is open water doesn't mean it is a good idea to go boating. Water levels are extremely high at the moment and water temperatures extremely cold. These factors combine to make any boating activity, especially canoeing and kayaking, a risky undertaking.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Canoeing at Easter - not in Algonquin Park!

April 11, 2006, Algonquin Outfitters canoe racks accessible by snowshoe only!

Ten days after the last post and despite warm days, we still have lots of ice on local lakes. There are promising signs though. Rivers are high and anywhere that moving water is entering a lake, there is a big open lead. If the weater contines to be warm, it would be safe to be optimistic about a canoe trip in Algonquin Park by the end of April.

A true sign of spring at AO: van connected to canoe trailer

For the previous post on March 31, I walked out onto the lake and took pictures. Today I couldn't do that due to open water along the shore.

Outfitter Creek is running and helping break up the ice on Oxtongue Lake

Many water front residents have a tradition of putting their Christmas tree out on the ice and placing bets on when it will fall over and float to shore. Our neighbours at the Blue Spruce Resort have closed their outdoor rink but still have a while to wait for their tree to go.

Lots of ice on the main part of Oxtongue Lake

Open water can be seen where the Oxtongue River flows into Oxtongue Lake