Ice fishing segment within Greater Niagara Fishing and Outdoor Expo Jan. 20-22
Ice fishing season has finally arrived, but caution is advised with the roller coaster weather ride we’ve been experiencing around the state. Safety needs to be the number one concern for hard water anglers, starting with being prepared for the worst. Make sure you have ice picks ready for grabbing, an ice spud to check ice thickness and a throw rope just in case you encounter someone in trouble. More and more ice fishermen are realizing that there is no “safe ice.” Wearing a flotation suit or a personal flotation device on your body is also important should you break through.
Being a veteran ice angler and an avid winter fisherman does not rule out a possible accident situation. Terry Weber of Michigan had made a name for himself in the Great Lakes trolling arena as the owner of Michigan Stinger spoons. When he’s not trolling in the soft water, though, he normally turns to the hard variety. He knows what he’s doing. After an unfortunate accident on the ice, though, we lost Weber as a fishing advocate. He was fishing alone and the ice was not considered safe. It reminds us of a couple important lessons – go with a friend and don’t head out unless there’s at least four inches of ice.
This is not meant to scare you off. It’s more of a reminder that certain precautions should always be taken when venturing out on the ice. In fact, ice fishing is experiencing a resurgence of sorts. More and more people are taking up the sport as a winter activity, a way to relieve a case of cabin fever. If you want to learn more about getting started, mark Jan. 20-22 on your calendar. Increased emphasis will be placed on ice fishing with the Northeast Region Ice Fishing Jam, a huge component to the Greater Niagara Fishing and Outdoor Expo at the Conference and Event Center in Niagara Falls, N.Y.
The Ice Jam will consist of some of the leading ice fishing manufacturers and retailers showing, talking and selling the latest in ice fishing gear. Led by Clam Outdoors, they will be partnering with Thorne Brothers to offer a tractor trailer full of ice fishing deals. In keeping with the theme of the overall fishing expo, a wide range of ice fishing education will be offered that is relevant to the local/regional waterways in New York and Canada. Whether you’re a novice just starting out or an expert looking for a few tips to put a couple of extra fish on the ice, there will be offerings for you. Education will range from one-on-one instruction with simulated ice fishing tanks to classroom education taught by some of the best ice fishing educators in the country headlined by a true ice fishing legend, Dave Genz. Check out www.niagarafishingexpo.com for all of the details on the ice fishing end of things.
Ice team pro Scott Brauer of Gasport also advises caution if you’re in an area that has received some of the early snowfalls. Snow on ice is not a good thing from the standpoint of creating better ice cover. Snow has insulating qualities and it will take a lot longer for the ice to become thick enough for travel. Keep that in mind. Brauer, who covers the state as a member of the Ice Team, also passed along a little tip for first ice. First thing in the morning, drill your holes in the weeds. As the morning progresses, move out to the weed edges and the flats. Then you can move back to the weeds for the afternoon and early evening, following the fish along the way. Hear more tips from Scott during the Ice Jam in Niagara Falls!