There they are scattered across the frozen surface of a lake or pond either hunched against the chilling winds or secluded comfortably in a heated shanty. All of them are waiting to “make a strike.” These are the “icers” who have come to test their mettle at ice fishing. It is especially important to dress warmly with sufficient layers of clothing which can be taken off or put on for maintaining body comfort. Insulated and waterproofed boots are also very necessary. Never venture out on the ice alone. It’s much safer and more fun to be with others and where the ice is not questionable. In addition to the actual fishing tackle, some accessories that have been commonly associated with the sport are: portable windbreakers, or a small tents, or the popular ice shanty mounted on runners for ease of movement; portable heaters; strainers to slush out the ice hole; augers (manual and motorized) to bore holes in the ice. Tip-up fishing and jigging are two popular and successful methods of ice fishing. A tip-up device is merely a device that spans the 12-18 inch hole in the ice with a flag signaling that a fish is on the line. It allows one to fish several holes at the same time, each having its own tip-up device. Live bait works very well and usually includes minnow, grubs, worms, tiny maggots, pieces of fish or meat, being sure to match the size bait to the size fish you’re after. Jigging, on the other hand, is simply creating an up-and-down movement with a lure at the end of a three-foot long fishing stick. Your local sports/bait/tackle shop will gladly recommend the various kinds of lures for catching pike, lake trout, salmon crappie, perch, walleye, and smelt, which make up a large part of the catch in Lake George. Nevertheless, learning how to fish successfully comes with practice.
For more information & basic tips on ice fishing in New York State, visit the website of NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation. There, you will also find a list of special ice fishing water locations & regulations for all of New York’s counties including: Warren County Ice Fishing, Saratoga County Ice Fishing and Washington County Ice Fishing.