13 March 2016: Ice Out on Clary Lake


Clary Lake Ice Out 3-13-16

David Hodsdon usually makes the official ice-out determination but I haven’t heard from him today and according to my precise calculations, today Clary Lake became completely ice-free. The northwest end of the lake from the outlet around the point at the end of Duncan Road has been ice-free for some days but the southern side which gets less direct sunlight was still mostly iced in until yesterday. Today’s high winds (see above) rapidly broke up and dispersed the remaining ice sheets. Today marks the earlier start of the open water season on Clary Lake going as far back as 2001, when our records start. The criterion for ice-out is when the lake is sufficiently free of ice that one can boat round the lake within a few feet of shore (essentially completely free of ice).

According to the Clary Lake Water Level Order, at ice-out the lake level should be at or very near the “normal historical high water mark” of the lake which has been determined by DEP survey to be at an elevation of 151.2′ which corresponds with the top of the dam. The lake level is supposed to be maintained at that elevation or as close to it as possible through the end of July to provide a stable water level to maintain fish and waterfowl breeding habitat. Unfortunately, the lake level is currently a little more than 2 feet below that elevation and falling and with no snow pack to provide spring runoff, we’re entirely dependent on spring rains to keep the lake level from falling too far, too fast. I’m not very optimistic.

I’ll post a time lapse video of this year’s ice-out shortly. I can’t wait to get my boat in the water.