By David Casaletto, Ozarks Water Watch Executive Director
A couple of days with high temperatures in the single digits or teens and lows of -10 degrees at night can result in a frozen Table Rock Lake. I took the picture, below, last week from my backyard looking directly at Cape Fair on the James River arm of Table Rock Lake. There is snow on top of the ice.
I have been trying to remember how many times the lake has frozen over since we moved here in 1999. For sure in 2011 and there was a long freeze sometime around 2002. In 2011, I was able to walk out on the ice without it cracking or breaking, but I didn't get too far from shore! You can see from the footprints, others ventured a little farther out. That year there was ice all around the boat docks, but it didn't cause any damage to the flotation, at least not on our dock.
In 2002 (or close to then), the lake froze over for two or three weeks and the gizzard shad started dying and freezing in the ice around the shoreline. I found the above picture on the web, but that is just what it looked like all around the shoreline. I called the Department of Conservation and was told that shad are sensitive to cold temperatures and the freezing lake caused many of them to die off.
When the lake started to thaw, there were over 30 eagles in front of our house, on the ice, enjoying the easy meal. I wish I could find the picture I took of them, but this picture above is very close to what it looked like.