March 24, 2013

Spring has sprung, but winter gets a last laugh


---- — Spring has sprung. 

But who would know? 

According to the Old Farmer’s Almanac, the Vernal Equinox occurred at 7:02 a.m. Wednesday morning. But as I write, this winter is having its last say and some wet snow is piling up throughout the Northeast.

This has been one my less active winters for outdoor recreation. Shortly after Christmas, my wife and I got right out on the snowshoes and trekked around the woods behind our home. Then that snow was gone and never really was replaced. I’ve had the snowplow on my Jeep just three times. Rather than drive to the interior of the Adirondacks for some cross-country skiing, I’ve opted instead to get out a few times in my kayak or go small game hunting.

I did manage to get some ice fishing in, but it was limited to an afternoon on Schroon Lake in January and about a week in February on Lake George. From then on my schedule has been pretty busy, and I’ve missed out on some decent ice fishing for sure.

While at times it has looked like spring here in the eastern Adirondacks, tell that to the folks in other parts of the region. Recently ice anglers were still driving trucks on Schroon Lake, and there was more than a foot of ice in parts of Lake George’s north basin. A friend who lives in Inlet said there was still two feet of ice on Fourth Lake.

Several Champlain Valley snowmobile clubs had little action, but the rest of the Adirondacks have had a normal winter in terms of snowpack. Snowmobilers have been having at it in the normal haunts: Old Forge, Speculator, Tupper Lake and so on. Unfortunately there have been some tragedies involved, too, as five snowmobilers died in the Adirondacks in the span of a week in late February.

What lies in store for spring is always a mystery. Last year we had extremely warm weather in late March and early April. The year prior we had snow during the youth turkey hunt in late April. Either way, the fishing tackle and kayak gear lie prepared, ready and waiting! And I can’t wait for turkey season! 

Ice fishing tournament results

Results are in from three area ice fishing tournaments. Congratulations are in order for all the winners, as are kudos to the volunteers who organize and support these tournaments in many forms, from donating prizes to helping out. Last but not least, a big thanks to all who participate in them.

Lake George Chingachgook Classic: Camp Wakpominee’s Chinga-Classic came off well this year over the weekend of Feb. 16 to 17. 140 anglers, including some who fished a youth division, turned out. Here are the winners: 

Lake Trout: First place: Chad Gates, 8.62-pounds; Second place: Ken Rohne, 8.48-pounds; Third place: Mike Richter, 8.13-pounds.

Northern Pike: First place: Rich Ortiz, 16.5-pounds; Second place: Eddy Rose, 11.7-pounds; Third place: Dominick Delorenzo, 1.56-pounds.

Perch: First place: Mike Morehouse, 1.32-pounds; Second place: Tommy Izzi, 1.22-pounds; Third place: Larry Hall, 1.2-pounds;-$125.

Youth Lake Trout: First place: Devon Rosick, 5.78-pounds; Second place: Devon Rosick, 4.54-pounds; Third place: Taylor Ortiz, 4.52-pounds.

Youth Perch: First place: Cody Hall, .98-pounds; Second place: Maggie Morehouse; Third place: Tyler Larson.

Northern Lake George Ice Fishing Tournament: The Hague Fish and Game Club’s annual tournament took place Feb. 23 and 24. Here’s a list of this year’s winners:

Lake Trout: First place: Corey Benedict 1,12-pounds; Second place: Rich Ortiz 9.1-pounds; Third place: Willie Washburn 8.15-pounds.

Northern Pike: First place: Chad Gates 11.7-pounds; Second place: Rich Ortiz 1.9-pounds; Third place: Joel Clark 1.4-pounds.

Perch: First place: Pat Collins 1.6-pounds, (13 7/8-inches was the tiebreaker); Second place: Joel Clark, 1.6-pounds; Third place: Randy Rivette 1.2-pounds.

Salmon: First place: Leo Blair 5.8-pounds; Second place: Jerome Manning, 4.3-pounds.

Schroon Lake Fishing Derby: 550 anglers turned out for this annual tournament held during the first week in March. Here are the results:

Lake Trout: First place: Rick Scholl, 11.4-pounds, 34-inches; Second place: Steven Barnaby, 9.99-pounds; 31-inches; Third place: Caleb Meade, 6.9-pound, 29-inches.

Northern Pike: First place, Jeremiah Millington, 14.9-pounds, 39-inches; Second place: Chris Clarke, 12.1-pounds, 36-inches; Third place: Rob Parks, 11.5-pounds, 34.5-inches.

Salmon: First place: Ed Harrington, 4.6-pounds, 24.5-inches; Second place: Jason D’Angelo, 4.3-pounds, 25-inches; Third place: Louis Galarza, 3.8-pounds, 22.5-inches.

There were also prizes for the largest perch: Joe Knizek, 1.9-pounds; 15.5-inches; and largest pickerel: Stacy Pruesser, 4.8-pounds. 26.5-inches.

Dan Ladd is the author of “Deer Hunting in the Adirondacks,” outdoors editor for the Glens Falls Chronicle, columnist for Outdoors Magazine and contributor to New York Outdoor News. Contact him at