The Sinking of the Fish Crib 2017

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Last night, April 3 to April 4, the flag on the fish crib sunk beneath the surrounding ice marking the end of the 2015 contest.  The official time according to the rules is 7 AM April 4.  Our winner this year is Gary Hughes from Madison, Wisconsin whose cottage is off Hiawatha Shores Road.  His winning entry was April 7th at 7AM.  He and his grandson were the only entries for that week; his grandson missing it by half a day prior because of the crib's slow sink. Gary had five entries, himself, his wife and three grandchildren and wisely spread out over several months.  He won half of the $185 or $92.50, the other half going into the Oxbow Lake Association Invasive Species Eradication Fund.

Several members were also curious about when "ice out" happens.  The sinking of the crib is a good indication of when it occurs.  Peaceful Bay today is about 10% open with black (rotten) ice covering another 20%.  South facing shorelines are ice free.  With the sun shining this afternoon and temperatures in the lower 50's half the bay might be ice free by dark.  If the wind were up it would go faster but, hey, it goes fast enough.  We are also coming out of the mud season and with the expectation of temperatures in the 60's over the weekend I think the big lake will show signs of opening.  The soil is still wet but also shows signs of drying in most higher places.

Your board members and lake association volunteer learned a lot about permitting and building an environmentally friendly fish crib built with hard wood trees that may last up to a hundred years.  Local boulders weighted the crib and the steel cable and clamps will rot (rust) away after a time.  We hope the crib will increase your fishing enjoyment.  Please consider joining in the fun next year.

Unrelated but pertinent to one purpose of the crib event is the opportunity Stu Whipple took after a wind storm blew down many trees on properties around the lake.  With permission of landowners he dragged out downed trees with his tractor and with the ice still good for travel, deposited them in six locations jutting out from his land into the lake thereby making fish habitat as encouraged by the DNR’s “Fish Stixs” Initiative.  Be careful when fishing those locations as Stu said he might start collecting lures.

If you have a dead or dying tree along your lake shore and do not want to use it as habitat for birds please consider either felling it into the lake or calling Stu Whipple for help in doing so.  If your tree is next to a house, boat house or pier consider calling a professional for insurance purposes.

Your Lake Association Board and volunteers are happy to help all of us maintain a healthy and productive Oxbow Lake.