It was more than a month ago at this point, but I can still hear a die-heard ice fisherman friend of mine saying, “man, I really hope we have ice by January 1.” Well, in New Jersey, we still don’t have any ice. Neither does Pennsylvania, Connecticut, and much of New York, including the Lake Erie shoreline. If you don’t live in this region and aren’t aware of the problem, I can sum it up like this: Last Saturday I washed my truck in my driveway in a pair of shorts. It was 64 degrees.
Despite the warm winter conditions keeping the smarter ice guys indoors and grumbling, a few anglers that just couldn’t wait have gambled and lost. Two men died last Saturday in Windsor, NY, when they fell through the ice on White Birch Lake that was estimated at only one-inch thick or less. You can read the story here, or check out this video detailing more about the region’s unfavorable ice conditions.
Believe me, I understand that terrible feeling of wanting to fish so badly, but the conditions just aren’t right. However, I think it’s fair to say that fishing a muddy trout river, or during high wind on the beach, or during a wicked cold front to quell your cabin fever is a little different than braving thin ice. It’s just something a rational person should know better than to mess with. There is no perch, pike, or walleye worth a frigid death. Hopefully no other ice fishermen will run that risk this season. And hopefully within the next month, everyone will be safely yanking monster fish through holes in the hardwater. How’s your ice this season?