It’s not easy finding a location to winter camp and ice fish. It takes a good bit of research to uncover the locations that have legal camping, open fishing season, reasonable sled in accessibility, plowed parking areas and solid ice.
One of the first sites I’ll check is National Weather Service NERFC Snow Page to see Estimated Ice Thickness. Of course you still have to “Go to Know” and use a metal spud to hit the ice ahead of you and check for solid consistency.
With the recent warming temps the edge of the ice had melted due to solar radiation absorbed by the dark forest while the ice further out on the lake was a consistent thick and clear 8″. The ice can reflect a large percentage of incoming solar radiation and maintain consistency when further away from physical features that absorb more heat.
To identify specific locations I’ll use the Nat Geo Trail Maps but also zoom on my specific area using MyTopo. This allows me to gather topographical and land ownership information to find an access route and a camping site.
After pulling sled a distance Alex and I found an access point into the forest and pulled up away from the water. One of the Adirondack camping regulations to know and follow is “Camping is prohibited within 150 feet of any road, trail, spring, stream, pond or other body of water except at areas designated by a “camp here” disk.” There were no designated sites so we found a flat area and made camp.
The high for the day was 10F so it made for difficult fishing with lines freezing. It’s a bit much to pull in an ice shanty in addition to all our other gear but I should be able to bring foam hole covers for the next trip to reduce ice forming on the tip-ups.
Once the tip-ups were set on the ice, I was able to finish setting up camp and get the stove operational. I’ve learned to pull in a bit of local or Stewarts store seasoned firewood just to kick things off and keep the stove happy but then go out and cut the available dead, down and dry wood. I always process too much out of concern and leave a big pile behind. Better safe than sorry..better warm than cold. One of big benefits to making your own site is the ease of finding good wood as opposed to when camping at designated sites that get picked clean.
At last light I began to pull my tip-ups off the ice and than melted the ice and took a moment to fix any lines so they would be ready to work the next morning.
High winds made for a difficult final day so we did some exploring and scouting for future trips on the way out.
If you want to team up and have ideas for winter locations to fish or hunt for snowshoe hare please leave a comment or reach out to me. I’d like to team up for some winning trips and share some skills.
“Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature — the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter.”
― Rachel Carson, Silent Spring