Outdoor Report Jan. 16
Ice crystals on a dried coneflower.
It’s been a busy week of recreation for those who appreciate snow and ice.The Hard Water Classic ice fishing tournament last weekend at Blackwell brought the anglers to Silver Lake. Staff members report that there were a variety of species caught. Later in the week, a visitor caught a 13-inch largemouth bass using a jig. Rangers have also started placing fish cribs on the ice at Rice Lake at Danada, where they will fall through when the ice melts and create more habitat for aquatic life.
And, as a reminder, all ice activities in DuPage forest preserves are done at the visitor’s own risk, and rangers do not monitor ice safety. At least four inches of clear ice are recommended. Be sure to check for safety as you move around since ice conditions vary across a body of water. Some signs of unsafe ice include cracks, ridges or faults in the ice, gray or black ice, areas of open water, ice that looks rotten or porous, and objects protruding from the ice. Please also note that due to fluctuating water levels, ice activities are never allowed at Spring Creek Reservoir.
Another ice-related activity to consider this weekend is the annual ice harvest at Kline Creek Farm. Staff will take to the frozen Timber Lake and big chunks of ice that people used to keep food and farm products like milk cold in the days before refrigeration. Visitors will also get to see how the blocks are stored in the icehouse to stay frozen even through the heat of summer. These demonstrations are free and are suitable for all ages and will take place on Saturday, Sunday and Monday between 1 and 4 p.m. For information, call Kline Creek Farm at 630-876-5900.
With the warm weather predicted for this weekend, it will be a good time to get out and look for wildlife that may be more active in the mild conditions. Rangers report a sighting this week of a red fox making its way along the trail system at Timber Ridge near Kline Creek Farm. If you’ll be exploring trails on foot or with snowshoes, please stay to the inside if there have been tracks laid down for cross-country skiers.
This week’s snapshot is the result of wind and fog on a cold day. DuPage County experienced freezing fog earlier in the week, which can result in some eye-catching ice crystal formation. Ice crystals may coat surfaces all around an object, such as trees, buildings and even snow on the ground. Ice crystals are often called rime ice when they form with the help of air movement. In this instance, ice builds up in the opposite direction the wind is blowing as the breeze brings moisture in the air in contact with surfaces.