New Ice on Mille Lacs

Mille Lacs Ice Update 12/17/2021

Red Door Access Remains Open to Walk On Traffic

The Red Door access will remain open for walking traffic, only to the first and second break, for the weekend.  Early ice conditions are always subject to change, so please check in at the office – which will be open by 7:30am Saturday morning – before heading out to the lake.

The decision to stay open for closer in ice angling and to have the Ice Team monitor conditions is largely driven by relatively stable temperatures and calmer winds.  Over the next 24 hours we expect temperatures to rise slightly to 18 degrees and then fall back to 11 degrees by 10pm on Saturday.  The Saturday wind forecast currently shows North or Northeast winds, which are not great, but fortunately of only 6 to 7 mph with gusts up to 12 mph.  Sunday should warm gradually throughout the day starting from 9 degrees at midnight and increasing to 24 degrees by 10pm.  Sunday winds will start the day at 4 mph with 10mph gusts and will increase to a sustained 20mph with gusts up to 30 mph by mid-day; fortunately, the stronger winds are predicted to be out of the south, which should push the ice sheet toward shore or hold it in place rather than presenting the potential for a shore separation.  With much of the air temperatures to be in the mid-teens and very little snow on Mille Lacs, ice should continue to build around the lake.

Hovercraft Adventure

The Ice Team had the pleasure of riding along with Dave Koonce in his hovercraft this afternoon and was better able to ascertain the size and shape of the ice sheet out front of the resort.  The Ice Sheet seems to be about 6” thick and of similar of consistency throughout.

Koonce and the team headed south to the mud flats and found the edge of the ice sheet which crossed East Flat and Wiemer Flat (see title photo for this post).  To the south this edge, the water was likely wide open yesterday and had about 1” of new ice today.  The hovercraft crossed this patch of thin ice – breaking the new ice and leaving floating pieces in its wake – but it was difficult to tell where the next larger, more stable ice sheet began.  The Ice Team mapped the crack line on Navonics as we traveled northwest toward the north shore of Mille Lacs.  Note that there was a separate crack from west of Weimer Flat so the open water was further west, closer to the Wealthwood Public Access (see yesterday’s post for more detail).  The Ice Team will continue to monitor the ice on the flats, but is not allowing public access beyond the first and second breaks at this time.

The Red Door Resort's Exploration of Early Mille Lacs Lake Ice Conditions
Mille Lacs Lake Ice Crack

At Left: View from the hovercraft crossing the new, thin ice near East Flat and Dave Koonce piloting

Above: The Hovercraft path along the edge of the Red Door ice sheet as mapped on Navionics

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