Ice Coverage to Build Over Great Lakes

By Jillian MacMath, AccuWeather.com Staff Writer
January 23, 2013; 5:55 AM ET
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The warmth that has tagged along with this winter season has made ice fishing in the Great Lakes more of a distant memory than an upcoming weekend plan, but that could soon change.

"There has been some spotty ice fishing this winter, but for the serious fisherman, it's probably been pretty disappointing so far," AccuWeather Expert Senior Meteorologist Dave Dombek said.

Lake Erie is most prone to freezing as it is the shallowest of all the lakes, but it is still not up to par for ice fishing just yet.

According to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, as of the week of Jan. 17, Lake Erie's ice was still not safe.

"For safe ice, you really need 4 inches or more," Dombek said. "Typically, ice on the lakes would reach their maximum point by February and sometimes in March, if it stays cold."

It's too soon to rule out a decent ice fishing season, however. Despite a milder pattern approaching next week, where temperatures could rise as much as 20 degrees, early February is likely to yield colder temperatures and a more conducive setup for ice growth.

"You can build up ice pretty quickly if you have the right conditions," Dombek said. "With this colder weather pattern coming up, we're definitely going to see more extensive ice coverage."

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