Normally at this time of the year, I’d be talking about the end of the ice fishing season, but from reports I’ve received, there’s nothing to talk about.
Tim Blodgett of Saratoga Tackle summed it up with: “Too cold, too much ice and just too much winter. Our season here at the tackle shop was really over last month.” He said there were a few out there on the 20 inches of ice, fishing for panfish and a few out there with their vehicles. I don’t believe that’s a good idea.
There have been reports of good lake trout fishing on Lake George, but I couldn’t get any information.
I got the results of the Schroon Lake Fish and Game Club’s ice fishing contest earlier this month, and it’s obvious that there are still big fish in Schroon. There were 578 contestants who braved the two-day event’s cold. Check out these winning weights.
Three big pike came to the scales. Colt Russell led with a 16.40 pounder, followed by Josh Heath, 12.07 pounds; and Will George, 11.32.
It looks like Lake George isn’t the only water with big lakers. Caleb Meade hauled in a 7.60-pounder, followed closely by Emily Caouette, 7.26; and Wayne Welch, 7.09. Michael Gibson won the salmon category with a 5.14-pounder, and Steve Aiken’s 3.76-pound salmon just nosed out Josh Priest’s 3.64-pound catch. Other winners included Steve George’s 1.46-pound perch and Marc Bordeau’s 4.75-pound pickerel.
The Bassmaster Elite Series, 1,100 miles to the south, attracted 108 of the top pro bass anglers to the St. Johns River in northern Florida, and I “forced” myself to go to all four of the weigh-ins. On day one, Randy Howell of Alabama, took the lead with 27 pounds, three ounces, but there were 10 other anglers with 20-plus pounds that day.
On day two, Alabama pro Chris Lane took a commanding lead with his five-bass catch of 37 pounds, nine ounces that was anchored by an eight-pound, 15-ounce largemouth. Lane never looked back, finishing with 19 pounds, nine ounces on day three and 15 pounds on day four — a winning total of 90 pounds, 13 ounces. That was 14-plus pounds over runner-up Dean Rojas of Arizona.
For Lane, who won last year’s Bassmaster Classic, it was his sixth Bassmaster victory. The winner concentrated on a mile of lily pads in seven feet of water all four days. He punched a heavy jig through the vegetation, targeting bass that were both pre- and post-spawn largemouths. His win earned him $102,000 — that’s $5,100 per bass — and most importantly, he solidified a berth in the 2015 Bassmaster Classic.
If you are wondering what to expect Tuesday, the opening of our trout season, here’s what DEC forecasts for Region 5. Relatively little snowfall in the eastern Adirondacks has resulted in the larger trout streams building an exceptional abundance of ice, including “anchor ice.” Anchor ice forms on the bed of streams, especially in riffles, and builds up from the stream bottom.
There are three effects this much ice in the rivers can cause. It could increase the mortality of fish and invertebrates, or when the ice breaks up, it can form jams that grind their way down sections of rivers, having a very detrimental effect on fish and invertebrates. Lastly, anglers may not even be able to get into the rivers until late April. Trying to get there would be difficult and very dangerous.
The good news is that the fish “always survive.” Stocking, however will obviously be later in the season.
Good luck, and remember to send me your Fish Tales.