Warm days and cold nights in the McCall area have resulted in a hard-packed layer of snow on top of the ice at our local lakes making for favorable travel conditions. I checked surface and ice conditions on Friday, March 3 on Lake Cascade, Horsethief Reservoir, and Payette Lake and here is what I found. *Please remember that these can change quickly and you should always check for yourself!
I visited two access areas on Lake Cascade. At Van Wyck access (south end), I measured 7 inches of hard-packed snow on top, then 29 inches of ice. At Boulder Creek access (north end), I measured 8 inches of hard-packed snow on top, then 8 inches of slush, followed by 23 inches of ice. The hard-packed snow supported my weight at both locations. With warm days and cold nights forecasted for the next few days, these conditions should hold through the weekend.
I measured ice conditions roughly 50 yards from the boat ramp at Mile High Marina. I recorded 9 inches of hard-packed snow, 15 inches of slush, and 8 inches of ice. The hard-packed snow mostly supported my weight but I broke through to the slush in a few spots. Ice conditions can vary on Payette Lake so please use caution if you decide to fish it. Drill holes to check the ice for yourself and don’t go alone!
In front of the dam at Horsethief Reservoir I measured 5 inches of hard-packed snow, 5 inches of slush, and 25 inches of ice. As on Lake Cascade, the hard-packed snow supported my weight.
Printed maps of ice fishing access areas on Lake Cascade and Horsethief Reservoir are now available at Tackle Tom's on Main Street in Cascade and at the Lake Cascade State Park office on the south end of Cascade, as well as Ridley's and the Idaho Fish and Game office in McCall.
For fishing regulations, recommended species, and other information for the McCall area, visit the Idaho Department of Fish and Game Fishing Planner, or contact the McCall Fish and Game office at (208) 634-8137. Good luck and stay safe out there!