Bear Lake in N Muskegon open. Beware Muskegon Lake

Bear Lake has a several hundred acres of open water at our usual launch and will not be sailed this season.

Saturday’s forecast is for upper-30s temperatures, and 5mph wind maximum. There may be a thermal though.

Not much wind is forecast for Saturday Feb 11. It won’t take much. Muskegon Lake looks like a mirror.

Good conditions for a party at the launch.

The forecast for Sunday Feb 12 is big wind in the mid-20s plus with mid-30s temperatures. It will be cloudy.

Ice fishing on Muskegon Lake was underway mid- afternoon Friday Feb 10 at the NM 2nd street launch, but participation was sparse.

I recommend caution. Muskegon Lake froze mid December, then opened, and we’re now on the third refreeze, which was late. The last freeze up was during a snowfall, so the ice is relatively weak due to a high air content.

We now have as of February 10, one hour and 15 minutes more daylight than at the December solstice. Ice formation is iffy later in the season when the UV has increased.

Sail with a partner, stay close to the Balcom Cove launch, and prepare for the worst until you’re confident with the ice’s safety. Even then, there may be a hole out there.

High wind Friday afternoon is not good for ice safety. Ice evaporates rapidly at thaw temperatures in brisk wind. We don’t see it melting; 50% humidity causes the ice to transform directly from a solid to a gas.

Randy Rogoski
a past commodore

Posted in Ice conditions
One comment on “Bear Lake in N Muskegon open. Beware Muskegon Lake
  1. Arrow#422 Arrow#422 says:

    I sailed Muskegon Lake, alone, on Thursday for 2-3 hours on 5-6 inches of solid ice which prompted my report. The ice fishermen verified 5+ inches in the middle of the lake. I traversed much of the western basin during the past 2 days and saw no issues to report other than the rough surface where the snow melt & re-freezing occurred. The best surface for sailing is north of the furthest ice shanties off Cottage Grove.
    Caution is always advised but no drain holes are currently present. The area immediately out from Muskegon Yacht Club is open due to the bubbling activities for their docks as is the outflow from the Balcom Condo slips. Stay away from the sheet pile wall and don’t cut the corner at the end there. Pressure cracks today were only minimal.
    Today saw more wind than Thursday with BIGGER gusts which were admittedly scary & only slightly manageable. I recorded a personal top speed in my Arrow @ 57.8 mph and I was on edge most of the time even with an inverted & flogging main. A bent steering post caused by extreme hiking conditions and the immediate need to TURN DOWN NOW resulted in a 360 spin out before I realized its malfunction. Seriously, after milking it upwind, any tack to turn around was met with such a hike & almost instant blow-over you had to be on your toes – or you were going to be upside down. I called it a day after limping in with a 20 degrees off plumb steering post, but I’m just glad it didn’t shear off and leave me stranded. The only DN on the lake today was unable to safely sail due to the extreme wind and puffs. All in all, it was a day to remember.

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