Animal’s Daily Ice Breakup News

Before I get into my gloating over spring in the Great Land, check out the latest chapter of Barrett’s Privateers – Unrepentant Sinner over at Glibertarians!

Now then: This is a bit of local news, but it’s significant in that it has to do with when the fishing starts, so here we are, discussing why the ice break-up here in some parts of Alaska may be a little late this year.

After a brief period of warm, springy weather, many Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta communities plunged back into negative temperatures the second week of April.

“Even though it might not feel like spring is coming, it’s coming,” said Johnse Ostman, a hydrologist with the Alaska-Pacific River Forecast Center and the National Weather Service in Anchorage.

And with spring, and warming weather, comes river breakup.

“Breakup is complicated and changes every year, absolutely,” Ostman said. “And (when predicting breakup) we take into several different, measurable data points.”

One factor is snowpack – how it compares to previous years, and the “snow water equivalent,” or how wet the snow is.

Ostman said he and his colleagues primarily get that data from National Resources Conservation Service snow telemetry sites and monthly reports.

I can’t speak for the Yukon-Kuskokwim area; Alaska is a damn big place and that’s a damn long way away from here. But hereabouts the ice is leaving the streams pretty well now; Willow Creek looks to be mostly open and a tad farther north the Kashwitna is losing ice.  I haven’t looked at the Susitna itself or Sheep Creek yet, but it won’t be long now.

One of our main reasons for coming to Alaska was the fishing – and it won’t be long now!