Ice Fishing

On the Adirondack Coast, we don't just deal with winter, we embrace it! Winter is when you'll find some of the region's best fishing.  Even though much fun is to be had, it’s important to be prepared and educated before heading out for a long day on the ice.

Basics from NYS DEC

Getting Started

There are many ice fishing opportunities on the Adirondack Coast. Anyone can ice fish successfully if they do their homework. Learning about the water where you’ll be fishing, the equipment to use, proper clothing and safety precautions are all part of an enjoyable winter fishing experience!

Perhaps the best way to get started is to accompany a friend on a half-day ice fishing outing. If you are unable to accompany someone, visit a local tackle shop.  They will have and can provide necessary equipment and information.

Ice Fishing Safety

Safe ice is a number one consideration. A minimum of three to four inches of solid ice is the general rule for safe fishing and ice thickness is not uniform. The guidelines below are based on new, clear ice on non-running waters. Remember to please use your judgment.

Ice Thickness Table for New, Clear Ice Only:

  • 2 inches or less: STAY OFF
  • 4 inches: Ice fishing or other activities on foot
  • 5 inches: Snowmobile or ATV
  • 8-12 inches: Car or small pickup
  • 12-15 inches: Medium truck

Who Needs an Ice Fishing License?

It’s important to have a fishing license because it gives state and federal wildlife officials the chance to identify people fishing illegally like poachers. The Adirondack Coast is dedicated to protecting the waters and wildlife that surrounds us and ensuring all who fish have fishing licenses is a critical part of that. Below are the NYS guidelines for licensing on the Adirondack Coast.

You need a fishing license if you are 16 years and older and fishing for:

    •       Freshwater fish species by angling, spearing, hooking, longbow, and tip-ups

    •       Frog species by spearing, catching with the hands or by use of a club or hook

    •       Freshwater baitfish for personal use

You do not need a fishing license if you are:

    •       Fishing on a licensed fishing preserve

    •       Fishing during the free fishing weekend

    •       Fishing at a free fishing clinic

More info NYSDEC

What to Fish For

Winter anglers catch a variety of fish including: Perch, Sunfish, Pickerel, Northern Pike, Walleye, Trout, Lake Trout, Brown & Rainbow Trout and Landlocked Salmon.

Deepwater lakes, such as Lake Champlain, need to be fished selectively to get good catches of northern pike, walleye or lake trout. Brown and rainbow trout and landlocked salmon, where they may legally be taken, are often found in deep lakes. When the lakes are ice-covered, trout are frequently caught cruising just a few feet under the ice.

The local tackle shop where you purchase your bait should be able to advise you on where fish are currently being caught.

Regardless of the fish species you’re seeking, concentrations of anglers and the presence of many old holes will provide an indication of areas where good catches have recently occurred.

What to Pack

•   Cold Weather Socks 

•   Insulated Boots That Are Easy to Walk & Stand in

•   Sweaters & Shirts Made of Wool & Fleece Are Great for Under Layers

•   Long Underwear & Waterproof Ski Pants

•   Floating Angler Suits Are Available For Extra Safety & Extra Insulation

•   Bringing Multiple Pairs of Gloves in Case One Pair Gets Wet

•   Fleece Lined Hats

Places to Fish

A Division of the North Country Chamber of Commerce
PO Box 310 |  7061 Route 9 | Plattsburgh, NY 12901 USA