12-18-12 – Some Fish And Some Open Water

Prior to our most recent storm, we had a bit of ice around Vermont. Between the snow and rain that fell, the ice weakened under the weight and insulation provided from the precipitation. Now the only option for decent ice seems to be to travel so that’s what I did.

I met up with a buddy for a short road trip to New York shortly after 7 am. The commute provided me with temperatures in the mid 30’s, rain, and slush covered roads. The hike into the back country lake wasn’t much better. From the point where we crossed Lake Champlain till the time we parked the truck, most of the precipitation was snow. As we walked the half mile or so into the pond the snow switched to rain.

The day before, the ice on the lake was solid and the snow on top was powder. As we crested the last hill to the pond we found a much different image. The wet spots that streaked across the lake and melted out scattered pockets made us feel uneasy but we made it this far we had to at least look.

Walking out onto the lake we used a a spud bar to get a gauge of ice consistency. At first we were getting two hits for water and three to open a hole. With 6-6.5 cranks on the Nils hand auger we had a good 3.5″ of ice. Working our way out slowly, we began to realize that the ice was not in very good shape and reaching the deep water where the crappies hold up might not actually happen.

As we worked north the ice consistency went in patches. We were never standing on less than 3.5″ but the ice hardness went from three hits with the spud to just one. Making the best of the trip, we started fishing our way out. We found lots of eager perch holding tight on the bottom from 8-15 feet. After a while of fishing, we found that the ice around the holes got pretty weak as the water spread. We made the easy decision that no fish, especially perch, were not worth risking our safety so we worked our way off the pond and back to the truck.


After the somewhat failed attempt at fishing deep water slabs we returned to hitch up to the boat and go search for perch no a lake that I had never even seen before. With two guys that know the lake very well, we launched and headed out to see what we could find. The water temperature on the north end of the lake was two degrees colder than that of the south coming in at just over 38.

We checked what seemed like every spot on the lake that is known to hold jumbo perch that we were after. After a while of cruising around and not marking any of the large bait balls or huge schools of perch that are so well known in the lake, we called it a day.

Sure this day won’t go down as one of the best but I got to fish on ice and out of a boat in the same day with with some friends. Not to mention we caught a few fish! Good enough for me!

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