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Boreal Community Media

Deep snow, slush causing problems for Lac des Mille Lacs shack owners

Mar 01, 2019 06:29AM ● By Editor
An ice road on Lac des Mille Lacs, in northwestern Ontario, has been made impassible by bad winter conditions. Photo by: Marjorie Wing

By Gord Ellis of CBC News · February 28, 2019

Some anglers on Lac des Mille Lacs in northwestern Ontario are having trouble accessing their ice shacks by car or  truck this week.

An ice road on the popular walleye fishery, which is located about 100 kilometres northwest of Thunder Bay, has filled in with snow and slush and has become impassible.

Ken Wing is one of the people responsible for plowing and keeping the 20 kilometre-long ice road on the lake open.

Wing said recent heavy snows have made the massive lake largely impossible to plow.

This photo shows the deep slush lurking under the snow on Lac des Mille Lacs. Photo: Marjorie Wing

"Most of the time it's not an issue," said Wing. "But this year with so much snow, it's insulating underneath and we are starting to get slush all over."

"Other years when we had problems like that we could move the road over a bit and find higher ground if you will. But this year there is just slush on both sides."

Wing said if they can get a groomer to compress the snow, they should be able to drive on top of the slush.

He said hundreds of ice shacks will need to be towed off the lake before ice out, but under present conditions, that would be difficult to do.

There are an estimated 150 ice fishing shacks accessed by the now impassible ice road on Lac des Mille Lacs. Photo: Shacks Landing Facebook

"It's a little tougher right now," Wing continued. "I mean there is still lots of people going by snow-machine out to their shacks and utilizing them that way but we definitely have to get a trail packed in for them to be able to get their shacks off this spring." 

"We got to get something packed down because they are next to impossible to pull in the slush because the slush builds up in front of the shack and you can't even pull them."

Wing said about 150 shacks are accessed by the ice road that begins on Sawmill Bay and runs to Coffin Island. They're accessed through Shacks Landing.

He plans to try using a bulldozer to try and clear a road where a plow truck presently can't.

Ken Wing is one of the people responsible for maintaining the ice road on Lac des Mille Lacs. Photo: Marjorie Wing 

Earlier this week, Ontario Provincial Police in Thunder Bay, Ont., advised the public to plan ahead before heading out for a recreational snowmobile trip.

In a release issued on Tuesday, OPP noted that in the past few weeks there had been a surge in calls for help from stranded sledders on local lakes.

Police said substantial snowfall this winter has produced extreme slush conditions wreaking havoc on area lakes.

OPP also suggested snowmobilers and ice anglers have a charged cell phone and an extra power supply in a warm jacket pocket.

Boreal Ship Spotter - larger view here