On Tuesday, January 18th we checked surface and ice conditions on Lake Cascade. Conditions are great in a large portion of the lake, and fishing is HEATING UP!! There are still some sketchy spots out there so anglers are encouraged to continue using early season precautions when venturing out ice fishing. In general, the ice is thick and the surface is hard at the very north and south ends of the lake, but mid-lake is still showing a combination of slushy surface conditions and weak ice beneath. Use extreme caution if traveling through the mid-lake area. Heavy snow Thursday and warm daytime highs predicted this weekend will likely result in some degrading surface conditions. Foot and snowmobile are the only recommended methods of travel at this time. See below for details.
I measured ice thickness at four locations. Thickness was measured approximately 100 yards from shore at each location.
At Van Wyck access (south end), I measured thirteen inches of ice underneath one inch of compacted slush. At Crown Point Access (south end near the dam), ice conditions have improved with twelve inches of ice under one inch of compacted slush. At both Boulder Creek and Poison Creek access areas (north), I measured fifteen inches of ice under two inches of compacted slush.
Again, these checks were only conducted near the access locations, where the ice and surface conditions are excellent compared to much of the rest of the lake. 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. 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!