Saturday, December 31, 2016

Waterway Rangers Urge Caution on the Ice

T6 R11 WELS, Maine –Rangers on the Allagash Wilderness Waterway (AWW) are reporting thin ice in the middle of the larger headwater lakes. Rangers and Wardens were out checking the ice thickness on the 28th and 29th of December. They found 5 to 7 inches of good ice on Churchill Lake, Telos Lake and Round Pond, but Chamberlain and Eagle Lakes only had 1 to 3 inches of ice out in the middle. There was about 5 inches of ice along the shoreline of Chamberlain Lake. Rangers advise ice fishermen to use caution when heading out to fish this weekend.

AWW Superintendent Matthew LaRoche stated that Chamberlain Lake skimmed over for the first time on Friday night, 12/16/16. We are expecting over a foot of snow on Thursday and Friday, that snow will help insulate the ice and slow down the formation good solid ice. The weight of the snow will also push the ice down and turn the snow to slush. The smaller bodies of water and coves have good ice but it is absolutely not safe to cross Chamberlain or Eagle Lake.

Rangers will be out checking the ice in the upcoming days. Current ice conditions will be posted on the “Conditions and Alerts” page at: www.maine.gov/allagash. Visitors should stop at the Chamberlain Bridge Ranger Station for up to date information on ice conditions or call the waterway dispatch service in Ashland at (207) 435-7963. If you have reservations at one of the area sporting camps, you should check with the camp operators before heading out on the ice.

"Rangers are urging people to check the ice as you go out and not to assume the ice is safe if you see a snowmobile track going out across the lake," said LaRoche. “An inch of ice isn’t very much, and that thickness may vary from location to location. The ice is just not safe enough to cross Chamberlain or Eagle Lake lakes yet. He urged those heading out to fish this weekend to tell someone where you are going and take someone with you."

The AWW superintendent warned all visitors to stay away from thoroughfares avoid tributary streams when traveling on the ice.

“We usually have a good crowd out ice fishing on the first weekend of the season,” LaRoche said, referring to the upcoming ice fishing season which starts Sunday, Jan. 1. “The native brook trout fishing is usually excellent when the season first opens.”

The AWW provides: winter campgrounds at the Chamberlain Bridge and Kellogg Brook, public drinking water, vault toilets and snow plowing. A groomed snowmobile trail is marked from the Chamberlain Bridge parking lot to the south end of Chamberlain Lake and to Round Pond/Telos lakes.

The AWW is a 92-mile-long ribbon of lakes, ponds, streams and river that wind through the heart of northern Maine’s vast commercial forest. The waterway became the first state-administered river to be designated by the United States Department of Interior as a component of the federal Wild and Scenic River Program. This designation was the culmination of an effort began in the early 1960s, to protect the outstanding natural character, unique recreational opportunities and historical significance of the Allagash River and its associated lakes and ponds.

For more information about the AWW, go to: http://www.maine.gov/allagash

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