Ice fishing: Area lakes delivering non-stop angling action

Weather conditions again made it perfect for the hard-water anglers this past week.

In my dr


Weather conditions again made it perfect for the hard-water anglers this past week.

In my drive-around on Saturday and Sunday, I saw plenty of anglers on four of the major lakes in our area — Lake Lonely, Saratoga, Great Sacandaga and Round lakes.

On both days, there were at least a dozen vehicles parked alongside of the footpath leading to Lake Lonely, just above Saratoga National Golf Course on Route 9P. What this tells me — and what the local bait and tackle shops confirmed — was that the crappies had to be biting. Most of the activity was in the north end of the lake. The primary crappie bite was on tiny tear-drop jigs tipped with fathead minnows and fished in eight to 10 feet of water.

Many of these fish were well above the nine-inch legal size limit.

Remember, the daily limit is 25.

Although I have only had one

double-digit-sized pike reported being caught last month through the ice at Lake Lonely, there supposedly were three over 10 pounds since. Bill at the Lake Lonely Bait Shop said he saw several photos, taken on cell phones, of these bigger pike, but wasn’t given any names. He believes all the bigger pike were caught off the weed edges in 10-plus feet of water using big pike shiners.


Speaking of big pike, Mike McNamara of Fort Johnson has wanted to catch a big one for the better part of 30 years, and he finally got his wish.

He was fishing at the Great Sacandaga in the waters just off of Scout Island last Sunday when the tip-up flag went off — and the battle was on. When it was over, he had a

42-inch, 22-pound northern pike laying on the ice. His personal record until then was a 16-pound pike. He was fishing in just three feet of water using a 10-inch sucker for bait.

The annual Ross’ Bait Shop Great Sacandaga ice fishing tournament out of Wally Karp’s Driftwood Park in Mayfield attracted 144 contestants, and the results speak for themselves as to how this lake is fishing.

In the northern pike division, Nick McNulty of Amsterdam took first-place honors with a 411⁄2-inch catch, while Greg Lee of Broadalbin was second with his 363⁄4-inch pike. Ken Roosevelt of Gloversville was third with a 361⁄2-inch pike.

The walleye winners were led by Matt Melious of Tribes Hill with a 23-incher, followed by Mark Lav­igna of Amsterdam with a 201⁄4-incher

and Glen Alexaitis of Clifton Park with a 20-inch fish.

In the perch division Nick Lee of Broadalbin had a 13-inch catch, while Roger Simone of Amsterdam and Ira Cromling of Broadalbin of finished second and third with 123⁄4- and 121⁄2-inch catches, respectively.


The state launch site parking lot was full last weekend, as ice anglers took advantage of the good weather and good bite going on there.

There were plenty of anglers on the ice by 10 a.m. both days, and the majority of them were fishing in the north end of the lake. Franklin Beach, along Route 9P, attracted a number of anglers who appeared to be fishing in around eight to 10 feet of water with both tip-ups and jigging sticks.

Apparently, the panfish bite, which included crappies, is good, and one angler who was leaving the ice told me he had heard they were catching perch out in the deeper water.

The other area where the crappies are biting is around the state launch site and down into Fish Creek. This area had plenty of anglers lined along both shorelines and out in the channel, as well. I believe those fishing the channel were fishing small shiners beneath tip-ups, and were having some success with the walleyes. And your chances of attracting the lake’s pickerel population is also excellent.

The pike report here is that they are being caught sporadically around the weeds. Most have been on live shiners fished fairly shallow, five to eight feet, and often, right in the middle of the weeds. I still would recommend putting on the biggest bait you can buy, and let it swim around just off the bottom.


This little lake is always a sleeper, both in winter and summer.

At about noon on Sunday, I saw 30 to 40 people, with the majority in either the north or south ends. Most of the anglers were fishing tip-ups, and those who I spoke with were fishing live bait for pike. I was told that the pike bite has been good the past few days, with plenty of 22- to 25-inch fish being caught.

Two second-hand reports I heard were of a 17-pound northern taken off the weed edges in the north end of the lake early Saturday morning and a 40-inch tiger muskie caught and released in 20 feet of water out toward the middle of the lake. Both are entirely possible in this lake.


Friday at 4 p.m., the ninth annual Fuel & Food Weekend Ice Fishing Contest will begin on the Great Sacandaga Lake. The contest will run through 4 p.m. on Sunday.

All fish (northern pike, walleye, perch and trout) will be measured at Driftwood Park on Vandenburg Point Road. Entry fee is $15, and you can register at Fuel & Food, 3006 Highway 30, in Mayfield. For further information, call 661-6917.


The Speculator/Lake Pleasant/Piseco Fish and Game Club will host the sixth annual Piseco Lake Ice Fishing Contest on Saturday from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Entry fee is $25. Registration and button pickup is Friday from 5-9 p.m. or Saturday from 5-9 a.m. at Casey’s Corners, Route 8, in Piseco. A buffet from 2-6 p.m. at the Piseco Community Hall is included in the registration fee.

For more information, call Casey’s Corners at 548-3556.

Categories: Sports

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