The middle of Lake George rarely ices over much before mid to late January, if it freezes at all. So the fact that the lake is mostly open water as of this weekend is not unusual for this point of winter.
The cold weather overnight Friday and Saturday did allow for some cover to form on the south end of the lake off Million Dollar Beach, which our region's ice fishermen were eying eagerly Saturday. It still wasn't nearly strong enough for fishing on Saturday, but with cold weather Sunday, it could be solid within a few days.
I hiked to and around Stewart's Ledge in Pilot Knob on Saturday, and saw that Warner Bay and Harris Bay both had ice, but Dunham Bay was wide open as the wind whipped. Reports on iceshanty.com were that Huddle, Basin and Sawmill bays had buttoned up as well.
Cold weather is forecast to continue into the middle of the week, but it doesn't look like there are any of those calm, subzero nights on the horizon that get a big lake like Lake George to button up.
Lake George is typically the last local lake to get enough ice for ice fishing, as winds that whip down the lake from the northwest keep the water moving. There is plenty of ice elsewhere for hardwater fishermen and women, with Schroon, Brant and Loon lakes drawing plenty of people, and the south end of Lake Champlain iced over as well.
Mike West, whose family operates The Crossroads Country Store & Sport Shop in Chestertown, said most of Schroon Lake had iced over as of Saturday. Those who have been fishing on Loon Lake have done well for walleye this winter, with some topping 5 pounds, and Brant Lake has produced some nice crappies and perch.
-- Don Lehman