Ice fishing essentials
The endless waterways of the Saranac Lake Region are prime real estate for the winter ice fishing season. Ideal for winter anglers, our deep, glacier-dug lakes shelter the fish.
A hand line, some minnows, an auger, and a bucket is all that’s needed to get started. The hand line can be upgraded to a tip-up, the auger can be powered by a battery, and the upside-down bucket for sitting upon can be inside the shelter of a shanty. Warm boots, hat and gloves are a must in any case.
Get started with someone knowledgeable. Our local guides will be happy to pass on the tips and tricks for a great day on the ice. Local tournaments are another great way to get started, with new friends ready to share tips and techniques.
Ice Fishing Tips
Patience and strategy are key. That goes for more than the fishing!
Ice fishing seasons run November 15 - April 30 for species with no closed season or minimum length, and that’s a span with a lot of tricky weather at either end. For the big fish like northern pike, pickerel, tiger muskellunge and walleye, the season shortens to end March 15.
The New York DEC, Region Five Fisheries, advises that a minimum of three to four inches of solid ice is usually safe for anglers on foot. Weather changes and the characteristics of the different bodies of water means snowmobile tracks or footprints cannot be used to gauge safe ice conditions. Special wariness is required in areas of moving water. Boat docks might have bubblers installed which reduces ice thickness and density.