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Get my travel agent on the horn!

February 23, 2011


Ice Out raffle at Hero’s Welcome


I am betting on mid April. Deadline is March 15. Last year it went through on March 17th. That was an unusual year though.


What a difference a week makes

February 21, 2011

A week ago, the Island Ice Fishing Derby was all but ruined by heavy snow on the ice. Shalom Farm made a heroic effort to keep their shanties open for business, and they succeeded where others failed. Here is a picture from last Sunday.

Just for good measure, here is a picture of one of their shanties.


Which was toasty warm with the wood heat.

This weekend? People are walking their dogs and skating on the lake, and ice yachting.


Needless to say, the ice fishing that most everyone thought was doomed is back on.

Ice conditions back to very good

February 19, 2011

The heavy snow melted to puddles in the warm weather this week, and froze over solid overnight. Bring your cleats, the ice is slick. But the snow cover is all but gone. This picture was taken today from the drawbridge at Grand Isle looking out over The Gut.

Some Pictures from the Islands Ice Fishing Derby

February 13, 2011

Deep snow on the ice limited fishing for everybody. Snowmobiles were nearly useless on a lot of the lake; same with 4 wheelers. Tracked vehicles did OK. Snowshoes helped a lot. As this post was written, not a lot of fish had been caught. I went around to all of the boards except for Mallet’s Bay and took pictures.

Hog Island store

From what I saw, Hog Island was where the big pike were. The pike on the left ran about 12.74 and was the Derby Winner.

Harborside Market, North Hero

Big lakers came from here.  I think the tournament record laker is in this picture. It cam from the harbor store.  If I am not mistaken, the winning perch is in this picture as well.


Bayside Bait and Tackle – St Albans Bay

Martins Store – Highgate Springs


Derby Winner in this shot

Walleye Martins Store Highgate

Update: Official Results thanks to Wildfisherwoman’s blog.

Mid Season Conditions – Treadwell Bay, NY

January 15, 2011

Inland Sea has been frozen over for a week or so, and we have had cold weather the whole time. This picture was taken in NY. There are also trucks on the ice at Missisquoi Bay.

Seiches and Thermoclines

December 28, 2010

Lake seiches are produced by the wind when it blows in a constantly for an extended period of time. Basically it piles up the water above the thermocline at the downwind end of the lake; these are also known as “wind tides.” It seems like the water sloshes back and forth in the like like the water in a bathtub but a better analogy might be a lava lamp. Scientists divide a stratified lake into three parts being the part above the thermocline, the thermocline, and the water below the thermocline. While the water does mix between layers, it does not mix readily.

As the warmer water above the thermocline is pushed down wind, the cooler water beneath flows upwind to replace it. This actually tilts the thermocline. Once the wind stops, the water seeks level again. In Lake Champlain, the top layer sloshes back and forth on about a four hour period until it finally settles back to level, if the winds stay calm. The cooler layer, in Lake Champlain, sloshes on a four day period, and while the upper layer only rises and falls a few inches, at most, the lower layer, and so the thermocline, rises and falls tens of feet over the four day cycle. Of course, the wind seldom blows for a fixed period, then stops for several days to allow the lake to react exactly this way, but measurements show that the thermocline does rise and fall by tens of feet somewhat in synch with the north and south winds.

Another consequence of the different flows of the warm and cool water is that there is a “shear” at the thermocline. Think of this like two blocks of wood touching each other and moving in the opposite directions. How this affects fish is anybody’s guess, but it seems certain that it would. The dissolved solids and gases in the water moves with the water in each direction. It seems like the dominant current in the broad lake would be flow towards the Richelieu River, but in fact the seiche can carry suspended debris to south end of the lake. Under the proper conditions a “water parcel” can travel on quarter the length of the Broad Lake in a period of two days.

Another interesting finding from the paper is that the thermocline is located at different temperatures on the northern and southern end of the lake. It is thought that this is due to the fact that the lake is shallower on the north end. At Valcour Island, the thermocline was measured to be at 61 degrees F, at Thompson’s Point, the thermocline was measured to be at 50 degrees F. The thermocline is defined as the depth where the temperature change is the steepest. This works out to be the boundary where the water masses above and below flow independently. Another possibility which showed up as theoretically possible, but which was never actually measured during the month of the study, was that the thermocline could reach the surface, exposing the lower layer to the atmosphere, affecting temperatures and dissolved gases, for what it’s worth.

How did they measure these things? They placed several moored sensor lines, attached to submerged buoys, and having temperature and current sensors positioned along the line. These were used to measure temperature and currents profiled against the depths.

The original paper which provided the information above is here:

Numerical studies of the 4-day oscillation in Lake Champlain – Kenneth Hunkins

Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University, Palisades, New York – Thomas O. Manley

Marine Research Corporation, Middlebury, Vermont – Patricia Manley

Department of Geology, Middlebury College, Middlebury, Vermont – James Saylor

NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory, Ann Arbor, Michigan

Ice fishing season is on in Northern Lake Champlain

December 21, 2010

There’s no debate any more. People are fishing lots of places in the bays. Open water still not frozen, so I guess the season for salmon and trout is still a bit off, but people are fishing Alburg, North Hero, Isle La Motte, Alburg Passage, which is where the picture is from, everywhere I have looked. I Will be on vacation later this week, so if anybody wants a specific report from the Islands area north of the drawbridge, let me know. I plan to be fishing later this week, so I will be getting more detail about who is catching what, I hope.

Took this picture looking south from Holiday Harbor in the Alburg Passage.