Expect Challenging Conditions On Lakes

If you’re headed for the lakes this weekend, anticipate less than ideal conditions. In the past two days, I’ve spoken to an Ely dog musher, a Grand Marais conservation officer with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and others who say lakes are not in good shape. Expect deep snow — surprise — and areas of slush. Since last week’s heavy snow, slush seems to have come back on many lakes. In some cases, that slush is deep.

Superior National Forest officials issued a similar warning this afternoon.

“Outdoor enthusiasts need to be aware that, on some lakes, beneath several inches of fluffy white (snow), lying on top of clear ice, there may be a thick layer of slush and/or crumbling ice,” the Forest Service said in a prepared statement. “Local rescue crews have been responding to numerous emergency calls where snowmobilers, snowshoers, even skiers are getting stuck in this frozen mixture. With the extreme cold, this can be life-threatening, especially in remote areas where help may be far away.”

Darin Fagerman, a DNR conservation officer in Grand Marais, was lake trout fishing recently at the end of the Gunflint Trail recently and encountered a lot of slush. Some of the group’s snowmobiles got stuck.