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Warm weather is melting ice Ririe Reservoir

Living the Wild Life

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Ririe Reservoir froze over from the dam up to the Juniper boat ramp on New Year’s Eve and two days later on Monday the ice had grown to three inches. I had dreams of spending Wednesday, Friday and Saturday on the ice, fishing for the amazing kokanee.

But to paraphrase a famous writer, “the plans of mice and men are often frustrated;” by nature or by man.

With warm weather and high winds on Tuesday, the ice has appeared to have thinned, cracked and large areas had become ice-free by Wednesday. Monday four fishermen fished near the northeast shore on three- to four-inches of ice with some success but: AS OF WEDNESDAY, THE ICE APPEARS TO BE VERY DANGEROUS.

From the shore Wednesday evening, I took pictures of open water; small holes of open water; cracks in the ice are hidden under the snow and thin ice under is hidden under a blanket of snow which will slow the development of safe ice under it. Several years ago, on Henrys Lake, I thought there was six inches of safe ice, but when I crossed a patch of snow I went through as the snow had not allowed the water to freeze under it. Thankfully, the water was only two feet deep, but it wrecked my fishing day.

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The three-inch ice north of the Juniper Boat Ramp developed several cracks on Tuesday and during Wednesday’s snow storm, the cracks were hidden under the new snow. The two dark spots north of the major cracks are where water came up through holes used by fishermen on Monday when that area was covered by three to four inches of ice. | Bill Schiess, EastIdahoNews.com

It seems that Bob Johnstone’s warning that the wind might destroy the ice, was a warning of what was to happen. “Looks like the reservoir has capped over,” the caretaker of the Juniper Campground, told me on Sunday night as we discussed the ice on Ririe. “The only thing that can go wrong will be a strong wind that will either break it up or melt it. One guy tried to go out on it today but quickly got off because the ice was cracking under him.”

On Monday while taking pictures of an owl, I got a call from a friend who was on the reservoir and asked where I was because he had gone out north of the boat ramp and had caught six kokanee and a trout. He told me he had found the ice about three inches thick and went out because there were already three fishermen on the ice. It was late in the afternoon by the time I got to Ririe to try it for about an hour, but found the fishing slow.

On Tuesday, two fishermen tried getting on the ice, but the wind and blowing snow was too bad for them to fish. Then by the time I checked the reservoir on Wednesday afternoon, the ice was too sketchy to even test it.

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Just west of the Juniper Boat Ramp, the ice melted leaving a 100 feet long and a 20-foot wide pocket of open water. | Bill Schiess, EastIdahoNews.com

If the cold weather that is predicted over the weekend materializes, the ice may be healthy enough to fish it in a week. I will check the ice on Tuesday or Wednesday to see how it is growing. Hopefully, by next Saturday we will be able to fish that area between the Juniper dock to the dam. The area south of the dock was all open water by Thursday night and it will probably be several weeks before that area can have enough ice to fish.

Please be aware of thin spots if you try to test the ice or fish it. For me, I will be waiting to see tracks of fishermen on the ice that does not end at a big hole. The last thing we want is to lose someone who tried to fish it too early.

For you snowmobilers and cross country skiers, please be careful in your activities; we have already lost too many of you in avalanches. Also, elk and deer are migrating and with the changing of the weather, the roads are icy – please be careful, we love having you around.

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