Put-in-Bay Island Diary: February 2021

Mon., Feb. 1st – It’s snowy and wind and there is a 2-hour delay for school in the morning. The ice is not settled. Susan Byrnes and Lisa Brohl take advantage of the snow and do a little cross country skiing instead of kayaking.

Tue., Feb. 2nd – It’s a beautiful sunny day. Four adventurous island ladies, Simona Michael, Maria Hristovski, Michele Heineman and Susan Byrnes are out snowmobiling around the island. There’s lots of ice in the lake, but it’s moving and unstable with lots of open water. Staff from the Ottawa County Health Dept. flies to the island and vaccinates 170 people for Covid at the fire station. At the PIB Village Council meeting, Mayor Dress reports there are 30 applicants for the police chief job which was posted online six days before.

Wed., Feb. 3rd – Barry Koehler posts on Facebook, “A first today on my flight back to SBI. I saw a kayaker on open water by the monument and shanties on the bay at the same time.”  There a bit of bucket fishing near the yacht club. Mike “Mad Dog” Adams posts on social media that he’ll be posting his schedule at the Round House for this summer sometime soon. That’s a good sign business will be returning to normal this season.

Thu., Feb. 4th – Mother Mary at St. Paul’s is conducting a video test for the online sermons she gives each Sunday.

Fri., Feb. 5th – Middle Bass island records a 70 mph gust coming off the lake! Miller Boat Lines live Lake Erie webcam overlooking Put-in-Bay Harbor is really shaky due to strong wind. The two-week weather forecast is beginning to look good for fun on the ice. There’s a birthday party for two-year old Greta Koehler.

Sat., Feb. 6th – It’s sunny, but the temp doesn’t get out of the teens. There are four shanties in harbor off the Jet Dock. PIBYC Commodore Marcia Ashley and club manager CC Wisniewski announce the winner of this week’s Rolling Raffle while outside in the snow at the foot the dock at the yacht club. Pam Myers is this week’s winner. Ryan Stoiber is giving rides to kids on old golf cart tops behind his ATV at the State Park. We spot Tom Thanasiu’s yellow iceboat on the ice at the foot of the downtown launch ramp, a sure sign of adventure to come.

Sun., Feb. 7th – More shanties are placed in the harbor off the Jet Dock. Off the West Shore there’s ice as far as one can see. The only problem is that there’s a quagmire of shoved ice which will make it difficult to put out shanties from either of the two ice ramps. A couple of people on an ATV check out the ice off the dock at the State Park.

Mon., Feb. 8th – The first shanties are placed off the West Shore and Stone Cove. Put-in-Bay contestant on ABC’s show The Bachelor, Meredith “MJ” Snyder, doesn’t get a rose from Matt and leaves the show after five weeks.

Tue., Feb. 9th – The PIB Village Council meets for 45 minutes then goes into executive session for an additional 35 minutes. Greg Dobos, Doug Wilhelm and Ryan “Doc” Daugherty from the PIBVFD head out on the lake in the fire department airboat to check the rough ice.  There’s 4 to 6 inches in a lot of areas, but only an inch at best in areas where there was open water a few days before. Within view of the Bass Islands on Pelee, their Legion Post is serving eggs benedict.

Wed., Feb. 10th – There are eight ice fishing shanties in the harbor. Marie Schroeder is making and delivering Italian wedding soup and chili. The Girl Scout cookies are flown over and arrive on the island. Far away on St. Croix in the Virgin Islands, Roger and Joan Rhoad from Cameo Pizza and Ray and Laura Fogg from the Reel Bar are on an island tour from Scotty and Caroline Jackson from The Goat Soup and Whiskey.

Thu., Feb. 11th – Joe Bodenbender, Audrey Socha and Justine Cultice are fishing off the West Shore and report about 10-inch-thick ice at their spot. Aaron Wilson (PIBHS Class of 1999) picks up his mom, Kerry Burris, and takes a few photos of our wintry island. Out at the Ladd’s on the South Shore, Heidi is on the ice right in front of her house making an ice rink. She posts it’s “The Rink of Dreams. If you shovel it, they will come.”

Fri., Feb. 12th – Tom Thanasiu takes to the ice on his ice boat shortly after sunrise on the east side of the Monument.

Sat., Feb. 13th – In the early A.M. hours, crews from the Put-in-Bay EMS and fire department head to Middle Bass on the airboat to respond to a medical call. The patient ends up being Lifeflighted off the island. It’s a cold day for the Kurt Rohrbacher Memorial Ice Fishing Tournament, and fishermen are completely skunked. PIBYC Commodore Marcia Ashley and CC Wisniewski are at Island Hardware drawing the winning ticket for the club’s Rolling Raffle #6. Out on the ice, fishermen can stop by Rob Hard’s Chili Wieners and get a hot treat. The Lake Erie Islands Nature and Wildlife Center is open for some Valentine’s shopping. You can get a LEIC island calendar, something from Jessie’s jewelry and more. On this day in 1961, 60 years ago, Parker Fuel was running low, and Alfred Parker took two flatbed trucks with empty barrels across the ice from PIB to the beach just west of Port Clinton. Stevens Oil from Genoa came and filled the barrels on the trucks.  Going back to PIB a crack opened up, so Alfred’s crew unloaded the trucks, drove the empty trucks across the planked crack, rolled the barrels across, then reloaded the trucks and headed for PIB.

Sun., Feb. 14th – While ice fishing, Maria Hristovski reports seeing a coyote heading from PIB to Green Island on the ice. Usually Facebook lights up with photos of ice fishermen and their catches when the fishing is good, but so far, the fish seem to have lockjaw. There is, however, plenty of activity on the ice. There’s snowmobiling, skating, ice boating, hockey playing and more. There are still very tall ice shoves which make ice travel challenging.

Mon., Feb. 15th – Mark Wilhelm posts on social media, “If I had a shanty out on the lake today, I would be pulling it in now. 30 to 40 knots wind with 6 to 12 inches of snow will be a damn mess getting to it.  Drifts will be unreal. Learned my lesson many years ago. Just sayin!” Up on Pelee Island, Sherry Hearns is having a drawing for a lemon meringue pie with a graham crumb crust! In the evening after dinner, the “Quad Squad” (a group of islanders zooming around on ATVs) is out in force on the roads in the blizzard-like conditions.

Tue., Feb. 16th – There’s so much snow Patty Bauer must be in Heaven. It’s a snow day at Put-in-Bay School. Chris Cooper, Doc Daugherty, Matt Miller and Larry Knaser are out plowing neighbors’s driveways. Unlike years past, there is no Fastnacht party at the Town Hall due to Covid, but there’s no shortage of the delicious treats made by Laurie Miller who is carrying on the family tradition of making them every Fat Tuesday. It’s a beautiful day for snow fun and Marc Wright and Kelli Krassow are serving hot chocolate outside The Forge on the curb.

Wed., Feb. 17th – Morning temperatures are in the single digits, coldest of the winter. If you drive around the island, there are still some Christmas lights and decorations up, plus left over political signs from last November’s election. Delaware Ave. has large piles of plowed snow on each side of the street. There are Ash Wednesday services at Mother of Sorrows. Sally Stuckey flies to PIB, gets her mail, checks on her cottage being built by Roger A. Miller Builders, Inc. on Peach Point this winter, then walks back to the airport to return to the mainland.

Thu., Feb. 18th – Flights between PIB and Port Clinton are cancelled due to weather issues. There’s an indication on social media that fishing might be picking up. Ice fishermen are nowhere to be found off Stone’s Cove at the State Park, but they are definitely off the new ramp on the West Shore. Liam, the son of Billy and Allie Market, celebrates his 5th birthday with a party for his school friends.

Fri., Feb. 19th – Island flights begin in the afternoon. Richard Warren is overseeing the production of his Niagara cigars at the KBF cigar factory in Santiago, Dominican Republic. Simona, Emma and Emil Michael are travelling to St. Croix for the school vacation. Marty Ketchum, from Mike’s Drive, and Aaron “Vern” Schroeder are fishing between Green and Rattlesnake Islands and report a nice catch of walleye. Brian and Justine Cultice experience a “too much snow” problem while attempting to drive in Victory Woods. Thanks goes to Don Dunn and Doc Daugherty for the help getting them unstuck.

Sat., Feb. 20th – One fishing report heard at the new ramp is fantastic! Forty walleye caught and everyone in the group limiting out! A Coast Guard airboat from the mainland is seen on the ice off the Boardwalk. There’s lots of ATV, snowmobile and ice action! About 40 people on 23 ATVs and snowmobiles head to Middle Bass for lunch at J.F. Walleye’s. They enjoy group photo ops at Lonz Winery and out on the ice.

Sun., Feb. 21st – Evelyn and Wade Wertenbach enjoy some fun on the ice, under parental supervision of course! If you’ve got a shanty on the ice, you’re pondering whether or not to pull it or leave it on the ice. The forecast is calling for winds with gusts of 40 miles per hour.

Mon., Feb. 22nd – There are a few raindrops in the early morning before sunrise. Jake Market’s pictures of the progress he took over the weekend of Miller Boat Line’s new ferry “Mary Ann Market” under construction in Superior, Wisconsin, go up on social media. Island Air Taxi pilot Dustin Shaffer spots a hole on the ice between South Bass and the mainland. Items floating in the hole and tracks in the snow make it appear like an ATV might have gone through the ice. A Coast Guard helicopter from the Air Station Detroit flies in to conduct a search/rescue operation, but no one is found and there are no reports of overdue people.

Tue., Feb. 23rd – Heat wave! The temperature climbs above 40 degrees as sunshine streams down from the blue sky. Enjoying time away from the island are Joe, Roberta, Harper and Rocco Scarpelli who are visiting the Naples Zoo in Florida. Ed, Michele and Ava Heineman are in the Florida Keys visiting John Dodge and Bridget Wise.

Wed., Feb. 24th – One year ago on this date, there was open water around Put-in-Bay. Rob Hard from the Black Squirrel and Chili Wieners is spearheading a new event at the Village’s A-Dock after lunch. Participants are trying their luck curling with ice-filled milk jugs on the ice rink cleared there earlier this month. The competition is not exactly fierce. Some of the fans enjoy a tequila shot with a minnow.

Thu., Feb. 25th – The long-term forecast shows all daily highs from now on will be above freezing. That’s not the same for overnight temps until into early April. The time from sunrise to sunset at Put-in-Bay is 11 hours and 4 minutes.

Fri., Feb. 26th – It’s a gorgeous winter day for brothers Tom and Dan Petro to be enjoying a little bucket fishing with friends out by Rattlesnake Island. Tom Thanasiu is ice boating in the Bay.

Sat., Feb. 27th – The day is so pleasant that Julie and Mark Friebel and Jimmy and Kelly Moore enjoy a game of Scrabble sitting outside on the patio at their Airline Dr. home. Kendra Koehler takes down her Christmas lights. Watching the weather forecast is frustrating. One forecast calls for a high of 34 and a low of 28 for March 2nd, the day many islanders get their second vaccine shots. Another forecast calls for a high of 31 and a low of 12.

Sun., Feb. 28th – Ice fishing is all but over. It’s hard finding a shanty out on the ice anywhere, but a few people are bucket fishing off the Boardwalk Dock. There’s a birthday party for Skyler Stoiber at the Stoiber home on Ibis.


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