The freeze has been deep and so have the fish.
Ice anglers have been moving out over deeper waters on inland lakes; most stream waders and open-water boaters are taking a bye. Lake Erie fish are on the move; stream waders work smaller baits and move as little as possible.
One major exception has been below Waterport Dam on Oak Orchard Creek; waders have been working steelies and browns there.
Lake Erie iced over solidly but not nicely. Walkers and machine runners got out at Sturgeon Point Marina this past weekend and mainly headed west to get over 40- to 45-foot depths in search of perch.
Catch counts varied from shutouts to a couple in the 30-fish range, with many big mammas in the count. Curiously, guys who headed out farther got a few fish but saw even nicer catches on the way back to the point.
Shove ice and pressure ridges make walking and motoring difficult off Sturgeon Point. Ricky Miller at Miller’s Bait & Tackle in Irving reports 10-inch ice on the creek in spots with smoother ice off the Catt and word that walkers might head out onto the lake this week.
Oneida Lake remains the hottest of inland lakes for ice anglers, but the perch and walleye fervor has slowed to warm rather than hot right now. Ice depths average 12 inches. Al Daher at Mickey’s Bait & Tackle in North Syracuse said, “This has slowed a bit, but the bite seems to be better along the north shore.”
Runners out of Bernhard’s Bay to well east of Godfrey Point still get into nice perch schools throughout the day and a better walleye bite early mornings and just before dark. The better setups have been depths of at least 20 feet and more than 25 feet in direct sunlight.
Chautauqua Lake ice reaches 12-inch depths, and anglers can fish lakewide.
Burtis Bay reigns as the perch and bluegill hot spot, with an odd crappie school showing on occasion says Mike Sperry at Chautauqua Reel Outdoors in Lakewood.
Jiggers have been doing well on walleye just before dark in the North Basin with the new Rapala Jigging Rap in the W7 or W9 size.
Lake Simcoe perch schools are mainly runts; the ratio of keeper to throwback is about one to 20 right now.
• The Rochester Boat show features more than 300 display models, including several fishing- and sports-boat models. Doors open at 11 a.m. Thursday at the Riverside Convention Center, 123 East Main St. The show goes daily 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday and Friday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.
A dozen area boat dealers will have expert reps on hand for information about new and popular rigs ready for upcoming boating seasons. For more details, go to rochesterboatshow.com.
• The Buffalo Boat Show sets up in the Bills Healthy Zone Field House in Orchard Park Feb. 26 to March 2. Show exhibits all appear under one roof, parking is free and major marine sales reps from all around Western New York will have demo models on the floor for visitors to view new and reliably established features on everything from paddleboats to pontoon boats.
For exhibitor and vendor information, check with Dennis Powers at 875-2255.
For more details on the show, go to buffaloboating.com.
Ice contests and results
• The first Ted’s Tackle Conesus Lake Ice Fishing Derby drew 176 entrants and a good mix of fish, except for two divisions. During both days of the derby no anglers brought in fish for the Walleye Division or the Crappie Division.
Josh Losey of Livonia took the Northern Pike Division with an 11-pound, 15-ounce northern; Eugene Jolly of Holley topped Tiger Musky Division entries with a 15-pound, 14-ounce tiger; Matt Briggs of Dansville led all Bass Division catches with a 4-pound, 2 ounce smallmouth.
Part of the proceeds were donated to breast cancer research.
• Capt. Bob’s Outdoors’ Ice Derby this past week saw one new division leader. Mike of Clarence weighed in an 8.17-pound northern to take the lead in the Northern Pike Division.
Schlabach, successfully working a jig and waxworm on 2-pound test linefishing for bluegills on Silver Lake hooked into and brought through the ice his monster pike. For derby details, call 407-3021 or stop by the store at 10295 Main St. in Clarence.
• Northeast Ice Fishing Circuit competition for both youths and adults at Silver Lake was a success. The remaining contests include a youth and adult weekend derby on Oneida Lake Feb. 8-9, a Sunday contest at Honeoye Lake Feb. 16 and then Conesus Lake on Feb. 23.
For entry details on this ice contest, call Jeff Snyder at (585) 322-0063 or go to northeasticefishingcircuit.com.