On Wednesday, January 11 we checked surface and ice conditions on Lake Cascade. Ice and surface conditions have improved throughout the lake since our last update, and travel is now conducive to snowmobile use in most areas. With with mild daytime highs, cold nighttime lows, and minimal snow forecasted this week, its likely that surface conditions will continue to improve. Angler reports from the access areas I visited suggest that fishing is improving as well. Another ice update will be posted next week. STAY TUNED!
I measured ice thickness at four locations. At Blue Heron access (south end), I measured twelve inches of ice underneath one inch of slush. At Boulder Creek (north end), I measured eleven inches of ice under four inches of compacted slush. Near Sugarloaf Island (central), I measured eight inches of ice underneath four inches of compacted slush. At Crown Point Access (south end near the dam), ice conditions were unstable near the dam and fishing is not recommended. A half mile north of the Campground via the Crown Point Trail I measured six inches of ice underneath on inch of slush fifty yards from shore.
With current conditions anglers have the option to use snowmachines on the lake from Sugarloaf Island to the Northern Arms. In addition, south of Van Wyck access ice is thick enough for motorized travel. Ice fishing on foot is still recommended near Crown Point and Van Wyck Access areas due to early season conditions.
Ice conditions and thickness can vary greatly in a given area. 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. Check out this recent BLOG with some early season "Safety Tips" and find more information on Fish and Game's Ice Fishing webpage.
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!