Tips for Ice Fishing in New York

Tips for Ice Fishing in New York
The state of New York's many lakes, rivers and waterways are home to an abundant variety of fish, including trout and all types of bass. During the winter, many of these waterways freeze over. Don't let the frigid temperatures and frozen water stop you from experiencing New York's famous fishing. Employ specific ice fishing tips to land a catch, even in the coldest New York winter.


The depth of the lake in which you are fishing will affect the type of fish you can catch, thereby influencing the type of bait or lure you use. In New York, deep lakes are home to trout, salmon and pike. Shallow lakes or ponds are home to perch and pickerel. The depth of the lake will also affect your choice of sinker, with heavier sinkers being opted for in deeper environments.

Fishing License

When ice fishing, all anglers must possess a fishing license unless fishing in waterways separating the state from its northern Canadian neighbors. As of 2009, fishing licenses cost $19 per year for residents and $40 per year for visitors. You may obtain a license from the New York Department of Environmental Conservation (see Resources) or from licensing counters at most sporting good stores and general retailers in the state.

Breaking the Ice

Cutting a hole in the ice to facilitate ice fishing is often challenging for beginner ice anglers. One of the best ways to cut the ice on a lake or pond is to use an ice auger. The size of the auger is determined by the type of fish you are trying to catch, with larger fish such as salmon requiring larger holes in the ice. In New York, a six- to eight-inch auger is sufficient for most of the species found in its lakes

Ice Fishing Safety

Take precautions to ensure your health while out in New York's frigid winter weather. Wear multiple layers to guard against cold-induced health problems such as frostbite. Ensure adequate ventilation if using a propane-powered heater in an ice fishing shelter. Most importantly, check the ice for cracks before walking onto it. Though most of New York's lakes should be sufficiently frozen by December, anglers should ensure the ice is at least six inches thick before walking on it.

Article Written By Josh Duvauchelle

Josh Duvauchelle is an editor and journalist with more than 10 years' experience. His work has appeared in various magazines, including "Honolulu Magazine," which has more paid subscribers than any other magazine in Hawaii. He graduated with honors from Trinity Western University, holding a Bachelor of Arts in professional communications, and earned a certificate in applied leadership and public affairs from the Laurentian Leadership Centre.

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