On February 13 and 14, 2016, New York is offering a free ice fishing weekend, in which New Yorkers can try the sport without a license. Click here for more information.
Winter anglers from near and far are drawn to New York State's abundant lakes, ponds, rivers and streams. Even if you don't know a tip-up from a Lindy Jig, you can still hook your share with ice fishing. All you need is an ice chisel, skimmer, hand line, hooks, sinkers and bait - plus a few layers of warm clothing!
The lower Niagara River offers one of the best winter trout fisheries on the continent. Options for ice fishing on Lake Ontario begin with Sodus Bay, a 3,000-acre smorgasbord of pike, perch, bluegills and walleye. Stream fishers love the season-long steelhead action on Maxwell Creek, while easterners jig for lake trout and salmon on Lake George. Ice challenged? You don't have to walk on hard water to hook a fish. Cayuga and Seneca, the deepest Finger Lakes, seldom freeze over.
Trophy-sized steelhead love to winter in the warmer rapids of Great Lakes tributaries. In the Thousand Islands-Seaway region, the Salmon and Oswego rivers offer public access to spectacular fishing. If you'd like to go with a guide, check the NYS Outdoor Guides Association. The NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation website has fishing tips and information on fishing licenses, safety and regulations.
So, bundle up and drop a line. Your catch is already iced!