Slush Issues

     A loosely connected group of anglers who frequent the Web site "www.fishingminnesota.com" will gather on Fish Lake north of Duluth Saturday to catch a few walleyes, northern pike and crappies. They’ll also likely encounter some slush on the lake that will make their travels interesting.
     I was out on the lake Wednesday and found slush in most places off well-traveled snowmobile and four-wheeler trails. Kim Wagner, co-owner of Hi Banks Resort, had told me there was "plenty of slush" on the lake.
     I suspect there is slush on many Northland lakes, which had just laid down a cover of ice before the recent snows came. When that happens, the weight of the snow puts pressure on the ice, cracking it in places. Water from the lake seeps up through those cracks and spreads across the surface of the ice, but beneath the snow. The additional snow on top serves as insulation, preventing that water and slush from freezing. Sometimes, it can remain for some time. Most of us have been in slush that’s a few inches deep. It can get a foot or more deep in the right conditions.
      Slush is sloppy to walk in, will bog down a snow machine and makes four-wheeler travel messy. It also makes placing permanent ice-fishing shelters a little iffy. If the house settles into the slush and freezes there, it can be darned hard to remove.
       Often, it takes a big wind to blow some of the snow cover off the top of the slush layer, allowing the cold air to freeze it. We’ll have to see what happens this year, but meanwhile, be aware that slush could be a factor on lakes.