Some chagrined the ice man won't cometh
Cutting a hole through inches of ice and angling for crappie and wipers has long been a winter favorite at the county’s lakes.
But many are noticing that winter is not what it used to be — and some can’t remember cold-weather pastimes at all.
“I will say in the three years I have been out here I have not seen any ice fishing at all,” Marion County Lake supervisor Isaac Hett said. “There has only been one morning that the lake has been frozen over. That’s it.”
Kevin McCoy, assistant lake manger at Marion Reservoir, said it has been more than a few years since he has seen decent ice.
“We go back and forth with warm spells and then cold spells, but it’s not enough to form an ice pack,” he said.
Variable temperatures have become a staple of winters these past few years, said Vanessa Pearce, a forecaster with the National Weather Service in Wichita.
“The last time the average monthly temperature was just below freezing was 2018, where you had an average temperature of 31.3 for the winter months,” she said.
It has been seven years since the winter’s chill was well below freezing at 28.5 for both 2013 and 2014.
The outlook for this winter, according to forecasters, is not great for ice and snow, but nice for a mild season.
“Right now, the average monthly temperature is six degrees above what it normally is,” she said, adding next three months are projected to bring more of the same.
“I am not saying there won’t be periods that are cooler for a stretch, but overall temperatures will be above normal,” she said.
Hett said some have been taking advantage of expected 40 and 50-degree weather at the lake.
“The crappie fishing from the bank actually has been good out here for three or four weeks,” he said. “It’s kind of surprising. Typically November and December are good for crappie. The cold shuts everything down.”
The mild temperatures have been a joy during winter cleanup as he and his crew install new playground equipment.
The slide, swing set, climber and picnic bench were purchased for $8,000.
“This will be really good to have at the lake,” he said adding that it took two years to raise the money.
He is delighted visitors have the chance to enjoy the outdoors, but worries the mild temperatures may bite them this summer.
“If you don’t get a solid freeze in summer there are a lot more bugs,” he said.
Last modified Jan. 20, 2021