The New York State Department of Conservation and the New York State Parks hosted a free ice fishing clinic, but a great deal of the clinic dealt with safety issues. New York State Parks Natural Resource Stewardship Biologist Tom Hughes talked about the proper way to dress, how thick the ice should be, and even weather conditions.
"In a big body of water like Oneida Lake, you have to know where you’re going because if you’re out there in the middle of the lake and it’s snowing, you may not be able to get back."
That’s exactly what happened just a few weeks ago on Oneida Lake. D.E.C. Fisheries & Wildlife Technician Scott Cornwell explained what you can do if you should happen to fall through the ice.
"Typically I tell everybody if you want to go ice fishing to carry a pair of ice safety picks. Those are 2 handles with spike points that you can have that you can use to kind of crawl your way out of the ice if need be. Hopefully that doesn’t happen, but that is something that you should carry with you."
The day wasn’t totally centered around safety. Many got to learn about different types of fish, and D.E.C. Fisheries & Wildlife Technician Robert Poprawski kept kids entertained with the latest in fishing technology.
"(This looks like the video game version of outdoor fishing.) That’s exactly what it is, and you know exactly when there’s a fish underneath you. (That’s kind of cheating isn’t it?) It’s basically cheating, and it’s great at keeping kids entertained. It also turns fishing into a video game."
And the kids were definitely entertained.
"Look inside there. That’s scales. Ewww that’s disgusting!"
If you do decide you want to try ice fishing, make sure you tell someone where you’re going, pick a nice day to go, and always bring a buddy.