Feb. 19: Lake Cascade ice conditions and fishing report

Feb. 19: We’ve had a pile of snow over the last two weeks, but there are still quite a few anglers out on the lake. I have over 50-inches in my back yard in McCall. There is up to 2 feet in some places on Lake Cascade. Ice conditions are excellent, but access to get on the lake and around on the lake can be difficult. 

Have reports of snowmobiles getting stuck in slush in some areas while other areas are OK. Just depends on how much water has flooded onto the ice in a given area. Make sure you wear waterproof or rubber boots as you may be standing in water under the snow, on top of the ice as you fish or as you’re walking around the lake. Walking out to and around the lake is very tough right now. May need skis or snowshoes.   

Many people ask where the water comes from on the ice, especially after a heavy snow fall. The weight of the snow pushes down on the ice and to equalize the pressure, water flows up through any cracks in the ice, through ice fishing holes and around the edges of the ice which is why the edges around the lake can be thin. It’s just like ice in a drink, when you push the ice down the liquid flows up and around and will cover the ice.     

The access road to Sugarloaf Island and boat ramp area are considered closed and access is limited to snowmobiles. Parking is very limited there, so plan on using other access sites.  Parking at the 90-degree turn south of Poison Creek boat ramp was non-existent as of Sunday as it had not been plowed out yet.  Poison creek boat ramp had not been plowed as of Sunday, but folks were using it. I expect Parks and Rec will plow it ASAP.  Cascade city ramp should be open and accessible.  

As always be careful when going out on the ice as thickness can vary greatly in a given area, so drill holes and check for yourself. Use caution when traversing ice pressure ridges. Ice can be very thin along these cracks as the ice sheet expands and contracts.  Don't go alone. Check out the ice safety article on the ice fishing page. 

Jan 22: Ice, snow and slush conditions on Lake Cascade have changed since the heavy rains last weekend. Ice thickness is fine but there is no snow on the lake now and it is a sheet of bare ice! Traction devices are suggested on both feet and motorized vehicles. Have reports of snowmobiles doing 360’s on the bare ice. Also snowmobiling on bare ice is a good way of overheating the machine and melting the track. Edges of the ice along shore may be flooded and thin.

Conditions of the access road to Sugarloaf Island and boat ramp area are unknown but most folks have been parking on the turnoff and snowmobiling down the road. Parking is very limited there so plan on using other access sites.

We’re getting reports of slow to good fishing on the lake for large perch and trout. Just depends on the day, area, and finding fish that are actively feeding.

Here's a perch caught January 15, 2019 on Lake Cascade

Perch caught January 15, 2019 on Lake Cascade
Creative Commons Licence
IDFG Paul Janssen

As always be careful when going out on the ice as thickness can vary greatly in a given area, so drill holes and check for yourself. Use caution when traversing ice pressure ridges. Ice can be very thin along these cracks as the ice sheet expands and contracts. Don't go alone. Check out the Ice safety article under Ice Fishing on the IDFG home page under the Fishing tab.

Check back often on the IDFG website and on the IDFG Southwest Region Facebook as I will be posting updates on ice and snow conditions thru the season as things change.

Paul Janssen, McCall Regional Fishery Biologist

Jan 8: Ice, snow and slush conditions on Lake Cascade have deteriorated since the heavy snows Jan. 5-6. Ice conditions should be good all around the lake however there is 12 inches or more of new snow and areas of slush up to 12 inches deep. Edges of the ice along shore may be flooded and thin. There is a risk of getting a snowmobile stuck in the slush so use caution! Access by ATV is not an option at this point and walking any distance would be difficult.

The road to Sugarloaf boat ramp area is snowed in at this time.

We’ve had reports of slow to good fishing on the lake for large perch and trout.

As always be careful when going out on the ice as thickness can vary greatly in a given area, so drill holes and check for yourself. Don't go alone. Learn more about ice safety on the Ice Fishing webpage.

Check back often on the IDFG website and on the IDFG Southwest Region Facebook as I will be posting updates on ice and snow conditions through January as things change.

Paul Janssen, McCall Regional Fishery Biologist

Jan. 3: Ice and snow conditions on Lake Cascade have improved and conditions are excellent for access. At Poison Creek/ Boulder Creek boat ramp areas there is now 8-9 inches of ice and 5-6 inches of snow. There are a few slush patches but not bad. Snowmobiles and ATV’s are now using the area.

Access to Sugarloaf boat ramp area is getting tougher as there was 6-8 inches of snow on the road on Jan. 3 with a two-track trail down the middle that four-wheel drive vehicles are using. At Sugarloaf boat ramp there is 7-8 inches of good ice and 6 inches of snow. There are some slush pockets in this area as well.

We’ve had reports of slow to good fishing on the lake for both trout and large perch.

As always be careful when going out on the ice as thickness can vary greatly in a given area, so drill holes and check for yourself. Don't go alone. Learn more about ice safety on the Ice Fishing webpage.

Check back often on the Fish and Game's website and on the IDFG Southwest Region Facebook as I will be posting updates on ice and snow conditions through January as things change.

Paul Janssen, McCall Regional Fishery Biologist

Dec. 24: It was below freezing all weekend (Dec. 22-23) and we received 3 to 4 inches of snow over the weekend. Ice and snow conditions on Lake Cascade have improved and conditions for walking out on the ice are finally good.

At Poison Creek/ Boulder Creek boat ramp areas there is now 6 to 7 inches of ice and the 2 to 3 inches of water that was on the ice has frozen so access conditions are excellent now for access.

Out from the Cascade City and Blue Heron boat ramps there was 5 inches of hard ice with 3 to 4 inches of fresh snow.

We’ve heard some reports of good fishing on the North end of the lake for both trout and perch, but pressure has been very light so far.

As always be careful when going out on the ice as thickness can vary greatly in a given area, so drill holes and check for yourself. Don't go alone. Learn more about ice safety on the Ice Fishing webpage.

To learn about current perch populations, as well as trout, kokanee and smallmouths, see this article about fall fish surveys, and watch this video about ice fishing for perch on Lake Cascade.

Check back often on the IDFG website and on the IDFG Southwest Region Facebook as I will be posting updates on ice and snow conditions thru January as things change.

Paul Janssen, McCall Regional Fishery Biologist

From Dec. 19

We had snow and rain for two days, which has removed all the snow on the ice and has caused mixed ice conditions around the lake.

At Poison Creek boat ramp area on the west side of lake there was 5 1/2 to 6 inches of original ice. On top of that there was 2 to 3 inches of water and a thin layer of ice. With each step you go through the thin layer of ice and into water on top of the original ice. Bring rubber boots if your going to fish in this area. There was a couple groups of anglers there and there were three or four groups out off the Boulder Creek boat ramp on the east side south of Donnelly.

Sugarloaf Campground road on the east side north of Cascade is still very passable with 2 to 3 inches of snow. At the boat ramp the ice had receded a couple feet from the ramp from all the rain. All the snow is gone off the ice and there was 1/2 inch or so of water under 1/2 inch of ice on top of the original ice. A little spooky to walk on. Still 3 1/2 to 4 inches of original ice here. As always be careful when going out on the ice as thickness can vary greatly in a given area, so drill holes and check for yourself. Don't go alone.

Check back often as I will be posting updates on ice and snow conditions through January as things change.

Paul Janssen, McCall Regional Fishery Biologist