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Multi Day First Ice #8976061 12/21/23 04:20 AM
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Sunday at 9 am my nephew and I headed north to find fishable ice and maybe if real lucky something thick enough for the snowmobile. First stop was the cottage to pickup all the gear. Next stop was the Comfort Inn in Kirkland Lake where we spent the evening going over and making adjustments to gear. Weather was pretty depressing at this point with plus 40 F and rain and almost no snow cover.

Monday morning we drove the logging roads in towards Abitibi. Temperature was 26 F with strong winds and snow falling and there was more snow. The closest we could get was 14km from the lake. Logging roads were horrible with a mixture of 4 or 5 inches of snow and slush on top of wet ice. Pushed in as far as we dared pulling the trailer and parked:

[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]

We got on the snowmobile at this point and continued the push in. Trail was mostly fine but due to the thin snow we had to watch out for rocks here and there. There were also multiple creek/water crossings that later in the season are fine but this time of year were definitely open:

[Linked Image]

None of the water crossings were deal breakers and the Skandic pushed through all of them without any real issues. We got to the lake and this is what we saw:

[Linked Image]

It was windy as @#$% - too windy for any kind of pop up but not really an issue as we planned this day to be essentially recon with little likelihood of doing any fishing. Got the spud bar and auger out and tentatively made our way out on foot. To our surprise we found 9 to 10+ inches everywhere we looked. And mostly black as well. We scouted and checked up to a mile out and popped a lot holes as we wanted to be sure it was consistent. That took basically the whole day to get to a point where i was confident that we did actually have enough ice for the snowmobile if we stayed in the scouted zone.

Made our way back out and called it a day. Next day dawned sunny, calm and 2 F:

[Linked Image]

Headed back down the trail and popped half a dozen more holes on foot just to be sure of things and then took the snowmobile out about a km and set up.

[Linked Image]

Fishing was okay but not as great as we hoped. Caught a whack of Goldeye for the smoker but that was about it:

[Linked Image]

Was a really fun trip. Put about 60 miles on the snowmobile and never saw another vehicle or soul once we left the pavement. I quite like trips where you have to fly by the seat of your pants and the potential for deal breakers is real.

Last edited by Hirogen; 12/21/23 04:27 AM.

Never violate a woman, nor harm a child. Do not lie, cheat or steal. These things are for lesser men. Protect the weak against the evil strong. And never allow thoughts of gain to lead you into the pursuit of evil.

-The Iron Code of Druss the Legend
Re: Multi Day First Ice [Re: Hirogen] #8976086 12/21/23 11:57 AM
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(We got to the lake and this is what we saw:) Blowing snow and poor visibility?

( To our surprise we found 9 to 10+ inches everywhere we looked. And mostly black as well.) Guessing that 9-10" is thick enough for the snowmobile, is Black ice better than other colors?

Neat trip, bummer on not catching a boat load of Walleye or whatever fish you were hoping for.

Have a Merry Christmas up there and stay warm!


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Re: Multi Day First Ice [Re: Hirogen] #8976106 12/21/23 01:08 PM
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Serious gear, serious trip. Very cool. up


...and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth. Gen. 1:28
Re: Multi Day First Ice [Re: Hirogen] #8976170 12/21/23 02:55 PM
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That looks like a fun trip.

Re: Multi Day First Ice [Re: Stub] #8976558 12/22/23 05:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Stub
(We got to the lake and this is what we saw:) Blowing snow and poor visibility?

( To our surprise we found 9 to 10+ inches everywhere we looked. And mostly black as well.) Guessing that 9-10" is thick enough for the snowmobile, is Black ice better than other colors?

Neat trip, bummer on not catching a boat load of Walleye or whatever fish you were hoping for.

Have a Merry Christmas up there and stay warm!


Yeah first day we got to the lake it was a wind blasted hellscape with visibility less than 100 yards. The pic that shows the pop up with snowmobile the next day is almost the same viewpoint but taken from about 1/2 mile out on the ice. Huge difference in visibility. When we went out on foot to test ice in the wind storm i hade to consult the compass as we lost sight of the shore and sure as $%^# did not want to end up walking the wrong direction.

In terms of ice the color tells the tale with respect to strength. Black ice is the strongest and white or grey is much weaker. On foot you want 4+inches but if it is solid black probably 2 inches will hold but is not advisable. For a snowmobile you typically want 6 to 8 inches but if black than 5 inches will probably hold but not advisable. 9 or 10 inches like we had will actually support a car. Early season trips always require a lot more work, planning and contingency prep as there is a lot more stuff that can go south in a bad way.

Last edited by Hirogen; 12/22/23 05:53 AM.

Never violate a woman, nor harm a child. Do not lie, cheat or steal. These things are for lesser men. Protect the weak against the evil strong. And never allow thoughts of gain to lead you into the pursuit of evil.

-The Iron Code of Druss the Legend
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