Lake Cascade and Payette Lake Ice Conditions Update (2/7/20)


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Lake Cascade Update - February 7th, 2020

Ice conditions have improved dramatically over the past week. As of yesterday (February 6th), the 1+ foot of slush that was sitting on top of the ice was firmed up nicely. The new snow we received overnight last night (February 7th) was wet, and has added a little bit of slush to the surface, but in general the lake is now much better suited for travel than it was a week ago.

In front of Poison Creek ramp there is about 8 to 9 inches of thick, solid ice underneath a hard mix of slush and ice. Drilling test holes, the auger went through several different layers through the top 1+ foot before reaching the solid ice below. The key here though, is that foot traffic and snowmobiles can easily stay on top of the hard mix.

Moving south, just out from the 90 degree turn ice conditions were good as well. We found 7 inches of ice underneath 1 foot of hard mix, with about a foot of soft snow on top (which has condensed to 7 inches of wet snow overnight last night). There were several groups of anglers fishing in this area yesterday with mixed success.

South of Sugarloaf Island, we found approximately 4 to 5 inches of ice underneath a foot of hard mix. As we moved further south to the Cascade City ramp area, conditions remained about the same. Surface conditions are slightly better at the south end of the lake (compared to the north end) due to less snowfall in the southern end of the valley.

There is an ice fishing tournament this Saturday (February 8th) for the ‘best 3 perch’. You can sign up for the “Fishing for Kaden” tournament at Tackle Tom’s in Cascade. Registration goes until 4pm on Friday (2/7) and from 7:00am to 8:00am on the day of the tournament (Saturday, 2/8). Almost every group we talked to yesterday had a few perch in the 1.5 to 2+ pound range, and two groups had really stacked them up (a dozen or more in this size range). This should make for some heavy weigh-ins on Saturday!

We received over a foot of snow in the northern part of the valley over the past few days, and Idaho Parks and Recreation staff and Valley County staff have been busy plowing access and parking areas. BIG THANKS to the plow drivers! Blue Heron, Van Wyck, Poison Creek, the 90 degree turn, and the Crown Point access areas are being plowed through the winter.


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Payette Lake Update – February 5th, 2020

We have been getting calls from anglers asking about ice conditions on Payette Lake, to go chase Lake Trout. Unfortunately, Payette Lake barely froze up before we started receiving lots of snow this year. As such, ice conditions are not good. On Wednesday (February 5th) we drilled a test hole off the McCall City boat ramp. There is a foot of snow on top of 1 inch of ice, then about 10 inches of soft snow and slush before reaching 4 inches of solid ice at the bottom. Walking out onto the lake, you’ll break through the top inch of ice and into the slush layer (SPOOKY!).

Use extreme caution when going out on any lake ice. Drill holes as you move out onto the ice to get a feel of ice conditions in that area. Underwater springs, creek outlets, ice heaves and cracks, old fishing holes and areas that froze later than the rest of the lake can all effect the thickness of ice.

Check back for frequent reports on ice and access conditions as they change on Lake Cascade for the remainder of February. As always, use extreme caution when venturing out on to the ice. Check out Fish and Game's ice fishing webpage for safety tips, fishing tips and additional ice fishing locations.