Hello, the month of January was a roller coaster ride of weather. Luckily the Megunticook Watershed has a great variety of winter activities available. Early in the month snow in the woods and fields was measured in the feet and the temps were very cold with highs in the single digits. Snowmobiling, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing conditions were great. Later in the month a January thaw brought warm temps and rain which washed away the snow in 36 hours or so. Water levels in the lake, pond and river spiked and water was flowing over the spillways at all the dams. When winter temperatures returned the ice conditions were great for ice skating, ice boating, and hockey. Hockey games at Breezemere on Norton Pond and Bog Bridge on Megunticook were going on afterschool and on weekends during this period.
The great ice conditions brought ice boaters from near and far and they were rewarded with a windy days to sail around the lake. I talked to a boater from New Jersey and saw a Delaware plate on another car at Bog Bridge. These boats can reach speeds 50 to 60 mph very quickly and it takes knowledge, skill, and nerve to operate them. I watched them tack up the lake into the wind with a rumbling chatter as they flew past. When the boats came reaching back downwind they were like jet planes going by with a hissing from the skate like blades. They are much faster than the power boats we see in summer. The fleet sailed all the way up to the Mullins Bog area at the head of the lake.
Fishing is good with many nice catches being reported. A friendly fisherman from Swanville has some very impressive photos of Rainbow, Brown and Brook trout from Megunticook. The Brown trout was huge making a 14 inch Brookie look very insignificant.
The days are quickly getting longer and the sun is getting higher in the sky. We have passed the coldest days of winter (on average) and have started to warm slowly towards spring. Get outside and enjoy the watershed. Be safe on the ice and always let your plans be known to friends and family when headed out for adventures. If you plan on being out on the ice into the evening it’s a good idea to leave a trip plan note under your windshield wiper. That way when we see that lone car left at the boat ramp at night we don’t worry!
MWA LAKE WARDEN Dale Dougherty