Do Northern US ponds no longer freeze in the winter?

Or maybe they don’t freeze as long? Or the ice is not thick enough to skate on?

As a kid in the 60s in NJ we had a frozen pond but I think it does not freeze now.

NJ ponds absolutely still freeze. I have a friend that does a lot of ice fishing every winter from around I-80 and north.

Ponds in Central Missouri are freezing.

do they stay frozen for a shorter period?

Lake St. Clair has frozen over almost completely for the past several years. May not this year, though, we’re in a bit of a warm stretch right now.

Alaskan sled dog race Iditarod has had to change the route several times due to not enough snow in recent years. Alaska in general is seeing earlier warming.

The house we live in was built by my gf and her ex-husband ~30 years ago. During construction they had a 1 acre parcel of swampy land dug up to create a pond. He played semi-pro hockey and skated on the pond all winter.

The past few years we’ve noticed that the pond has only been “skate-able” for a short time during the winter. We do not skate, but we do keep a section free of ice for ducks to drink (using a floating heater) and the days we need to use the device are fewer each year.

Most Michigan lakes and ponds freeze. Ice fishing and skating are popular here.

There is a restaurant in Havre de Grace, Maryland, with a series of photos framed on their wall. They show railroad tracks laid over the ice across the mouth of the Susquehanna River there, with trains including steam locomotives on them. I still can’t wrap my mind around this. It would have to mean that the ice went all the way across the river and got thick enough to support a train with a steam locomotive, and stayed that way long enough for people to decide “let’s do this, we are confident it will last long enough to make it worth the enormous effort”. I’ve seen ice on the river but I don’t think I’ve ever seen ice reach all the way across, let alone thick enough to try walking over it. Can this possibly be real? It would be quite the testimony to water freezing over much less than, oh, 100 or 150 years ago.

Here’s a link about building train tracks across frozen rivers. They’re in the far north continental US or in other very northern locations.

In Wisconsin, where I grew up, ice fishing is very popular, as is snowmobiling across frozen lakes, but it does appear that ponds and lakes are not frozen for as long (or have thick enough ice to support ice fishing) as they did in the past.

For example, this article, about ice fishing around Madison, notes:

And, this article, about a broader study by the University of Wisconsin on northern-latitude lakes, notes the following:

Here is a record for one lake in Northern Minnesota. The variation from year-to-year is large, but there is a trend to shorter duration of ice on the lake.

Gull Lake Ice Cover History

I’ve seen a lot of variance in the winters here in northeast over many years. In the past twenty years in southern New England there have been a few very cold winters, but most cycle between very cold and warmer temperatures for a few days at a time. In a winter like that the ice on ponds and lakes doesn’t get very thick over the winter. But in the early months of the year we occasionally get weeks of cold mainly sub-freezing temps and the ice will build up quite well for fishing and skating.

There are historical records that show preachers traveled by horse-drawn wagons across Green Bay to reach their devoted flocks on the other side in the 1800’s.

More to the present, every winter some pickup trucks fall thru the ice to their doom. Although you can walk out into Green Bay in February in places, the idea of trying a regular crossing would be super-folly. I don’t think a preacher would chance it, even with God’s help.

Chambers Island, midway between the west & east coasts of Green Bay, is now deer-free. 100 years ago, deer would regularly cross from either side to reach the rich vegetation on the island. Apparently deer haven’t been able to do that recently.

I live near Manhasset Bay on Long Island. I gather that the bay used to freeze over regularly enough that recreational iceboats were not uncommon in the early decades of the 20th century. I’ve found NY Times stories from the 1970s that indicate that iceboats were still sailed there occasionally, but that conditions would be right for only short periods of time. In the time I’ve lived here, since 2004, I can’t remember seeing anything more than some thin ice near the shore.

Mine freezes. I don’t skate, but the neighbors came over and skated on it last winter.

I don’t keep notes on when it freezes and when it doesn’t; but it probably does freeze for less of the winter than it used to. Everything I do keep track of agrees with the growing-zone map people that we’re overall warmer than we used to be. It does vary year to year; the weather around here was always somewhat erratic, but it’s gotten a lot more so. (The rainfall patterns have also changed, which has been causing a lot of problems.)

I think it was about 20 or 30 years ago, Lake Erie was mostly frozen and a number of ice fishermen from the Detroit area were out on the lake fishing. Then the wind came up and broke their ice loose as a giant berg, and they had to be rescued by coast guard helicopters. …but not their trucks.

Even 25 years ago I thought it was weird that *Grumpy Old Men *showed people driving their trucks on the lake and ice fishing, over the Thanksgiving weekend? Even further north on Canadian prairies, driving on ice in late November could be a dicey proposition.

It was an old tradition that there would be a ceremony honoring the first captain coming down the St. Lawrence every year. This always used to happen in April; now it is always the first ship in January. River still freezes, but not till January and I would imagine it thaws in March, but I don’t know that. Lake Champlain still freezes every winter and supports an active ice-fishing industry, but it starts later and ends earlier than it used to. I don’t know about small lakes in NJ.

I don’t think of where I live as “the north”, but Washington State borders Canada so I guess it counts. (Where I live the winters are typically mild so I think of stuff north of me as “the north”.) But ponds can freeze here, sure. Maybe not lakes and rivers but ponds can.

Not that we skate on them. Again, our winters are mild and ice doesn’t get that thick. Maybe east of the Cascades it does.

The tidal basin and the Potomac River here in DC froze over in 2015 and 2018. It’s noteworthy when it happens, though.