(CBS) —Ice fishing? You can stick a fork in it, if you can even find the ice.
The unusually mild weather has done it in earlier than ever.
The McHenry County Conservation District is allowing ice fishing at only one location, on Lake Atwood in the Hollows, near Cary. But spokesperson Wendy Kummerer said she expects conservation personnel to close it by the end of the day Friday.
As of mid-afternoon Thursday, the ice atop Lake Atwood was 3 inches thick.
Spring is in full swing at the district. Kummerer said the district opened its boat launches Wednesday for the spring, seven weeks early. It’s a big change from three years ago, when ice had to be broken to usher in the trout-fishing season the first weekend of April.
“Mother Nature operates on her own timetable,” she says.
Lake County Forest Preserve District Public Safety Director John Tannahill said he cut off ice fishing two weeks ago, when the ice thinned out to four inches or less.
“You might want to bring your boat out Monday. Just kidding,” he said.
Tannahill is not kidding, though, when it comes to safety. He said you may still see ice along riverbanks and atop streams, but there is probably rushing water underneath so it is not safe for walking. He said it would require close to a week of sub-zero temperatures to replenish.
“That’s not happening in the next few days,” he says.
Temperatures near 60 are predicted Friday and 60 or better Saturday through at least Tuesday.
Tannahill said he understands the desire some have to ice-fish one last time, but said he has seen people fishing through the ice several feet away from open water.
What’s crazier, said Kummerer, is that the entire winter it hasn’t snowed enough to rent out one snowshoe, usually a winter staple along McHenry County’s hiking trails. It rents snowshoes any time the snowpack reaches 4 inches.