A quick check of Muskegon Lake @ Balcom’s Cove on Tuesday 2/8/17 (in the light drizzle & fog) reveals 5-1/2 inches of solid black ice confirmed out approximately 200 feet from the launch ramp. Test holes were drilled with ice thickness verified with an accurate gauge (not my hand). Spud “thuds” indicate nice hard ice. NO ice fishermen were visible through the fog during my check around 3pm that day. Driving West toward the Sand Docks confirmed no-one was fishing, and the shore ice was receding some, away from the main ice plate. Open water is present along, and out from the Muskegon Yacht Club due to the bubblers present there. I did not walk the lake surface & cannot comment on drain holes, cracks, etc. but the ice has no snow and is quite smooth. Mr Bos had reported seeing ice fishermen off the 2nd street launch site on Monday afternoon, in the 40 degree weather that day, as well.
Dale McPherson called me today alerting me of the hardening conditions at Balcom’s & noted many ice fisherman were WAY out on the lake. The parking lot had many vehicles at this access point today. This may be an opportunity for those of us with open sailing schedules to participate especially with the continued cold night-time temps. Wunderground is forecasting a warming trend beginning on Friday, so I’d assume this may be only a Thursday, Friday, & possible Saturday morning sailing opportunity. At least we have “something” available and a valid, confirmed, report to base it on.
For what its worth, Mona Lake looks to be a complete NO SAIL venue at this time most likely due to warm water inflows and a lack of depth to retain its ice coverage during these warming trends.
Bear Lake in North Muskegon would be another location worthy of an ice report for those of you that could do so.
Respectfully submitted & requisitioned,