This brings up yet another wonderful thing about ice fishing: the beauty of nature. Ice fishing makes bald eagle and hawk sightings possible along with plenty of other wildlife that would otherwise go unseen. There are tracks in the snow to study, the interesting perspective of the landscape as seen from the water, the muffled silence of winter and a unique camaraderie shared by others who have stepped outdoors to enjoy this season.
Most stores that sell sporting goods can explain the necessary fishing license application and regulations along with the best gear, baits and locations to ice fish in this area. At Sportsman’s Adventures, Decker can describe some of the favorite local fishing spots such as Silmans Cove on Goodyear Lake. “You can catch about anything depending on where you fish and what bait you use including crappies, walleye and lake trout,” he said.
For someone who has never done any fishing before, ice fishing can be the perfect lure into the sport because even small successes can be easier to come by and ice fishing lends itself to more of a social setting.
One of the keys to having a great time regardless of your catch is to dress for the weather. Decker emphasized this point, as does the DEC website, by explaining the importance of dressing in layers from head to toes.
Ice fishing may seem like a lot of sitting around but getting out on the ice and setting up fishing holes takes energy and the layers will help hold in heat. Sunscreen to protect your skin from wind and sun is recommended, along with sunglasses to prevent squinting headaches from the snow glare.
Ice fishing is not all about solitude or small groups, Check out local ice fishing derby announcements, such as the Chenango Lake Perch Derby in Norwich scheduled for Feb. 8, where enthusiasts, experts, vendors and fans gather for fun and competition.
This new year, resolve to try something new. Ice fishing offers fun, fresh air, friendship and food without limitations of age or ability. It is a family-friendly sport that makes winter all the more exciting.www.dec.ny.gov Information on ice fishing regulations and safety tips