Big Hook Winter ConditionsThe snow keeps on falling in the Opasquia Provincial Park. After chatting with Sandy Lake Seaplane this past Sunday, we learned the area has over five feet carpeting the ground with more on the way. Uncharacteristically, this massive amount of snow has accrued with temperatures and wind chills reaching as low as -55 C. Historical data has shown that snow amounts have tapered with such cold temperatures. Cold temperatures are often associated with very little moisture. While the area has been affected with extreme cold, it has also witnessed drastic temperature fluctuations. Fluctuations of 40 degrees Celsius in some cases have resulted in the record snowfalls. These snowfalls have placed a damper on the winter highway activity.
According to Sandy Lake Seaplane, the ice highway to Sandy Lake is still not open. Dad and I had plans to traverse the frozen tundra this Wednesday with approx 13000 pounds of goods. One reason for the delay is the road crews responsible for maintaining the Sandy Lake ice highway are having difficulty with several blow downs about 30 miles south of Sandy Lake. Two wind storms in early December fell miles of trees. Furthermore, the deep snow is not allowing the cold to create ice over North Spirit Lake and Duckling Lake. These are two crucial bodies of water that consist of about 10 miles of winter highway driving. As of Sunday, only 8 inches of blue ice was found beneath the snow along with almost a foot of slushy ice. Many of you know slush ice can be very dangerous to commute. So now all Dad and I can do is wait and wait...
Fishing High Water
Heavy snowfalls this winter could make Big Hook waters this spring very interesting. With five feet of snow currently on the ground in the area, it is safe to assume water levels will be the highest we have witnessed in years. The intense run off from the melting snow and rising water levels can have positive and negative effects on fishing.
First the negative issues with high water. First and foremost, rock hazards will change. Remember those boulders that just peaked out above the water line. Those are now new prop busters that should concern you while navigating the water. Also, weed beds are greatly affected. The high water blocks out sunlight to once fertile weed beds. One foot of water can be the difference to a thriving weed bed. Weed beds will take longer to grow and mature. Bait fish also look to weed beds in the summer time for cover. The lack of foliage impacts pike fishing. Weed beds are a favorite hunting ground for the toothy predator and without weeds pike will focus on deeper water hunting tactics. Thus making them more difficult to locate.
High water brings numerous benefits to a body of water. The heavy run off from melting snow will bring nutrients into the lake. These nutrients will encourage weed bed growth in new areas. Also, increased water means rushing rapids. One of my favorite places to fish is below a roaring waterfalls. Bait fish and predators are drawn to the current as nutrients and oxygen saturated water rushes by. Furthermore, new creeks and watersheds will be created for prime spawning areas for pike. Pike love to spawn in warm muddy areas with steep banks.
We will keep everyone posted on our winter highway travels.
Good luck on the ice/water everyone.