On Tuesday, January 25th we checked surface and ice conditions on Cascade and Payette Lakes. On Lake Cascade, surface and ice conditions are excellent on the majority of the lake. However, poor ice conditions (white ice) exist between the Sugarloaf Island and Crown Point areas. These conditions are a result of heavy snow accumulation during early season ice formation. We urge anglers to use caution if traveling in these areas. Foot and snowmobile remain the only recommended methods of travel at this time. The weather forecast for this weekend is favorable for ice fishing with stable weather consisting of warm days and cold nights. Warm afternoon temperatures may result in degrading surface conditions (slush). See below for details.
At Lake Cascade I measured ice conditions at three locations. At Van Wyck access (south end), I measured nine inches of clear ice underneath four inches of white compacted ice, and three inches of snow. At Crown Point Access (south end near the dam), I measured six inches of clear ice underneath seven inches of white ice, and three inches of snow. At Sugarloaf Island (central), I measured seven inches of clear ice under five inches inches of white ice, and four inches of snow. These measurements were all taken over 200 yards from shore.
On Payette Lake we recorded surface and ice conditions roughly 100 yards offshore from the Mile High Marina boat ramp. We measured six inches of clear ice underneath two inches of white ice and three inches of snow. Due to early season ice conditions, we urge anglers to use caution if venturing out onto Payette Lake at this time.
These checks were conducted in specific parts of the lake and do not represent the water body as a whole. Drill holes and check for yourself - use caution and don't go alone. Ice can be very thin along cracks as ice sheets expand and contract. Stay tuned for another ice update next week.
Printed maps of ice fishing access areas on Lake Cascade and Horsethief Reservoir are now available at local tackle shops in Cascade and McCall, as well as the Fish and Game office. 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!