First off, I watch ice closely because I am nutty for skating the biggest lake in the world. No, not Lake Baikal, that piece of shit lake. I mean Lake Superior, the queen of the unsalted seas. Ice cover has been minimal this year so I have been sad, and nearly desperate in this COVID season for recreation and release.
But as my house has a decent lake view, I watched with some interest as ice plugged the outer harbor. It seemed too much to ask for that it should become safe enough to skate on — keeping in mind that ice is never safe. But whatever.
The sign I watch for is the appearance of ice houses. Once they appear, I grab my skates. My logic is this: those guys know what they’re doing. I figure the ice angler community is right on top of the Department of Natural Resources, and is tracking ice thickness so I don’t have to. If they feel safe, I feel safe.