There’s nothing like an inch of late-March rain on a work day to cause ice anglers to worry about whether their ice shack will be high and dry when they finally get a chance to return to their favorite lake.
That was the case in much of the state on Friday, and with warm weather forecast through the weekend and again later next week, a Maine game warden said anglers might want to make plans to move their shacks to dry land as soon as possible.
Warden Jim Fahey said anglers should keep an eye on the weather to determine a good time to head onto the ice.
“It looks like it’s going to be above freezing until Sunday morning. Sunday morning’s going to be in the mid-20s, but then there will be a few nights — Sunday, Monday, Tuesday — that are going to get down into the low teens,” Fahey said. “So, if somebody misses an opportunity [to remove their shack] at the end of this weekend, if they’re available to plan an excursion midweek, they’ll probably be OK.”
After that, the weather looks pretty sketchy: Temps for next weekend may reach the 40s and 50s, Fahey said. And it may turn out that getting shacks off the ice may take more than one day, especially if they’re sitting on glare ice and have begun to sink into the ice.
Fahey explained that as the sun beats down on the blocks an angler typically uses to boost a shack off the ice, it can actually knock the shack off that blocking. Just getting the shack back in a proper spot can be a good first step, even if the day’s not suitable for a full-scale hauling operation.
“I think a guy would be wise to make an inspection this weekend, get it re-blocked and, if they can’t haul, maybe wait a few days to haul it off the blocking and be done with it at midweek,” he said.
Fahey said most ice anglers pay close attention to the weather, and are careful to take care of their shacks in advance of adverse weather conditions.
“For the most part I do think that people that invest in shacks and place them are pretty well in tune with the changing conditions and when to make their move,” Fahey said.
Fahey said that typical trouble spots — inlets, outlets, thoroughfares and near rocks and dark-colored shorelines — will likely have thinner ice, and caution should be used when in those areas.