So Typical

What happens when you run a mess of ice fishing stories?

Those cold days in late fall and early winter turn positively springlike when your January issue comes out.

How warm has it been? At 6:30 p.m. last night, my in-vehicle thermometer read 57. And when I got to the front door, I noticed new leaves budding out on the rose bush beside it. A bunch of tulips or lilies are poking out of the soil in the front and backyards too.

Today comes word that this January is on pace to be the warmest on record in Seattle. Though the month is only two-thirds over, the average temperature so far has been 47.5 degrees, almost a full degree above the previous record, 7 above average, and 8 1/2 above last January’s, according to Lynda V. Mapes’ article in today’s Times.

Why has it been so warm? She writes:

The reason is simple: There is just no cold air anywhere in our region. It started early in the month with a grinding southwester that shoved all the cold air out of the Puget Sound area and even blew away Eastern Washington’s usual bowl full of cold air.

Then an easterly airflow pattern set in and is continuing to bring warm air our way. And it’s all going on in the larger context of an El Niño, which always means warmer, drier weather as the jet stream splits and sends our storms south.

I don’t know that it’s sent all of “our storms south” — Seasonal Affective Disorder is setting in with all these rainy, cloudy days — but the weather sure has made a mockery of ice fishing articles.

“Ain’t Dakota, But We Got Ice Too,” reads the headline of one of our stories this month.

Get your Sharpie out and mojo that to “Ain’t Dakota, And We Got Rotten Ice,” please.

“Ice on smaller trout waters is probably pretty rotten,” Chris Donley, WDFW fisheries biologist for far Eastern Washington, said in yesterday’s Weekender.

Added fellow biologist Marc Divens: “Usually this is a good time to fish Eloika or Newman lakes for their bass, perch, crappie and other fish. But I wouldn’t recommend anyone venture out on the ice on those lakes, at least not until we return to more normal temperatures with freezing days and nights.”

“With the recent warmer weather, I would not venture out onto the ice at Roses (Lake),” guide Anton Jones in Chelan, Wash., warned earlier this week.

Roses was only one of three top choices for ice aficionados in North-central Washington we wrote up in January. Typically safe waters in more elevated parts of the region are also suspect.

Argh. Ever tell you how much I hate ice fishing?

Well, I guess I don’t hate ice fishing, per se, just trying to cover the sport anywhere south of Yellowknife.

Back at F&H News, when I was the Mid-Atlantic edition editor, my writers and I felt pretty safe running a late-December/early January ice fishing issue, and of course the ice came off in New York and Pennsylvania.

So we quickly put together a follow-up open-water fishing issue, and of course the ice came back with a vengeance.

Ice, may you burn in hell.

If there’s a bright side, at least it won’t be so bitter up on Lake Roosevelt, where the trout fishing’s pretty good, or in Northwest Oregon, where the steelheading’s shining this winter.

And my writer Leroy Ledeboer points out, “Hey, they had several good weeks of ice fishing – more above Spokane and in the Okanogan – which in this state is about all anyone ever expects.”

But the only ice I want to see for awhile is while drowning my sorrows in a frosty mug of suds.

One Response to “So Typical”

  1. Wind, Wind, Go Away! « Northwest Sportsman Says:

    […] those warm days last January and February, the ones that made me weep about covering ice […]

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