Ice areas keep expanding for hard-water harriers in search of everything from pike to perch.
Tip-up setters now have a standardized count of seven rigs/lines per angler for setting up with a hand-held line or two and any version of tripping device (tip-ups or tip-downs) that release when a fish hits.
First reports from rig setters have been a better-than-average northern pike bite and a fair bass take on lakes where smallmouth and largemouth bass season remains open through the ice-fishing season.
The quick, late freeze on many inland lakes has formed ice surfaces that vary from thicker shoreline areas to thin, potentially dangerous areas over deeper waters.
The Ontario County Sheriff’s Office confirmed one rescue made at Honeoye Lake Tuesday afternoon. Shore areas in protected bays with minimal feeder-stream outflows may offer safe ice surfaces. However many areas of lakes that usually havew ice depths of five inches or more in late January now have less than 3-inches.
The outdoors shows circuit is ongoing and tourney/derby activity on frozen and open waters is solid.
Major outdoors shows in the Buffalo area provide anglers with exhibits, seminars and vendors with fishing information and gear to improve angling success and enjoyment. Many shows featuring hunting and camping activities often have a good number of angler-related offerings. Here are a few:
• The 2016 Great American Outdoor Show at the Pennsylvania Farm Show complex in Harrisburg Feb. 6-14 is a distance from Western New York, the show is so big with so many things to see that it might be worth an overnight or two to see and do things involving fishing.
The slate of celebrity speakers and regional experts is impressive. For more details, visit greatamericanoutdoorshow.org.
• The 31st Allegheny Sport, Travel & Outdoor Show in Pittsburgh Feb. 17-21 is closer to Buffalo and has a nice list of fishing-related exhibitors and seminar speakers specializing in bass and musky fishing. For details, visit firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Erie Promotions stages two Sport & Travel Expos in March. The first show is at the Bayfront Convention Center in Erie March 4-6. The second goes from March 10-13 at the Erie County Fairgrounds in Hamburg.
The Hamburg show expands each year, with free parking, additional exhibitors and a slate of informative speakers. To check out both shows, go to eriepromotions.com.
• Capt. Bob’s Outdoors in Clarence has a Winter Fishing Derby ongoing to March 20 for fish caught through the ice or from open waters. Catches from Canadian and U.S. waters can be entered in eight divisions, Entries can be made the day of registration at 10295 Main St. in Clarence. For entry details, call 407-3021.
• The 2016 Ice Masters Elite Singles Tournament Trail invites all anglers to tourneys that feature species popular at each competition site. Two tourneys go this weekend, with registrations at 5:30 to 6:30 each morning.
A Long Pond tourney begins at Char Broil Catering, 1395 Island Cottage Road in Rochester on Saturday. The Sunday event is at Braddock Bay Park. Entrants sign in at the park boat launch. For details on this and other Ice Master contests, check with Paul Toarmino at (585) 226-8404.
• The Roger Toby Memorial Niagara River Anglers Association Steelhead Tourney Feb. 6, featuring a competition for steelies and an optional brown trout division. Registrations can be made the day of the tourney at the Lewiston Landing. For more details, call 988-8910 or visit niagarariveranglers.com.
• Ted’s Tackle in Lakeville stages its Second Annual Conesus Lake Frostbite Ice Fishing Derby Feb. 21 and 22 with four winning categories (pike, panfish, bass and tiger musky) taken from Conesus ice. For entry details, call (585) 429-0587.
Make sure ice conditions provide safe passage this weekend before heading onto any hard-water surface. Mixed reports of ice depth and catch results come from every popular ice-angling hotspot.
Perch catches have been pick-and-choose among fillet-worthy fish.
Chautauqua’s perch numbers are fair with sizes still not special. The odd walleye catch has been more impressive, according to Mike Sperry at Reel Outdoors in Lakewood. Same goes for Simcoe Lake ringbacks, showing in good numbers but mixed sizes. Honeoye Lake had a nice start to deeper-water perch, but thinner, mid-lake ice areas might be risky, if not open water, by this weekend.
The pike bite showed better at Braddock Bay than Conesus Lake, so far.
Silver Lake’s perch and ’gills were smaller, with no sign of crappies in
the shallows, to date.
High winds Tuesday and a major cold front slowed but could not curb a good steelie and laker run in the lower Niagara River. Shore casters have done best with a white jig on a slip bobber that imitates an emerald shiner, said charter captain Chris Cinelli. Boaters drift with an egg sack for the same results.