Here we are just past the half-way point in winter and it seems like things are just getting started.
While many of the smaller lakes in the Adirondacks had ice early on, some of the bigger waters are just getting to the point where anglers feel safe.
I hate to admit it but I’ve only been out on the ice once and that was an uneventful two hours of quick fishing on Schroon Lake. It just seems that when I’ve had time to fish, the conditions have been poor. I even opted to go out on Lake George in my kayak one afternoon and try some trolling.
Should winter hold on, it would be good news for organizers of upcoming ice fishing tournaments, which usually reach their zenith between mid-February and early March. So far two big tournaments have been held on Simon Pond in Tupper Lake and also on Raquette Lake.
Lake George is still on the fringe in some areas but plans are on for two very good tournaments down there.
First up is Camp Chingachgook’s Chinga-Classic, a two-day event being held Feb. 16 and 17 where anglers target lake trout, northern pike, landlocked Atlantic salmon and yellow perch. Headquarters that weekend will be at the camp near Fort Ann beach in Pilot Knob on the east shore of Lake George, where there’s always a warm fire and refreshments. More information is available by calling 798-9203 or 656-9462.
A week later on the weekend of Feb. 23 and 24 is the Hague Fish and Game Club’s Northern Lake George ice fishing tournament. The waters are deeper in the north basin of Lake George and this tournament tends to produce a few more salmon than those in the south basin. For more information, visit www.haguefishandgame.com/events.
In the south-central Adirondacks that same weekend is the Speculator-Lake Pleasant-Piseco Fish and Game Club’s annual ice fishing contest on Lake Pleasant based in Speculator (www.adrkmts.com/events.htm).
As long as Mother Nature cooperates, the weekend of March 3 and 4 will be a big one for area ice anglers as there are not one, but two popular tournaments that weekend.
Schroon Lake’s annual two-day ice fishing derby runs both Saturday and Sunday, as does the Colby Classic over in Saranac Lake. These are both multi-species events that sees hundreds of anglers participate and produce some fantastic fish. Both are also organized by respectable local fish and game clubs. Find more information on their websites: www.schroonlakefishandgameclub.com and www.saranaclake
More fun stuff
There certainly are not as many outdoor shows in the Adirondack region as their used to be. But one that has stood the test of time is the Adirondack Sportsman Show held annually in Johnstown on the southern edge of the Adirondacks.
Although it’s a small show, I can tell you it is worth the drive and takes place this year Feb. 16 and 17. Visit www.adkshow.com for more information.
The annual Adirondack Sportsman’s Dinner held at the Mountainside Bible Chapel in Schroon Lake is also in the works for March 23. The main speaker this year is well-known deer tracker R.G. Bernier of Maine, known for his collection of bucks well over the 200-pound range. A 200-pound buck in the northeast is considered by many to be the epitome of a trophy measurement rather than the score of its antlers, and Dick Bernier has taken many of them. He’s also an excellent inspirational speaker. Get more information at www.sportsmensdinner.com.
The Adirondack Museum does not open until May 24, and when it does, one of their main exhibitions this year will be called “Let’s Eat! Adirondack Food Traditions.”
Until then, the museum holds several Cabin Fever lectures on Sundays throughout the winter. I’ll be giving one of those lectures at the museum on March 24 called “Adirondack Hunting Traditions,” where we’ll showcase some of the stories and photos we’ve gathered for the forthcoming Adirondack Deer Camp video documentary. But there are some other good topics in the Cabin Fever series as well. Visit www.adkmuseum.org for more information.
Last and certainly not least, the gun debate is gripping sportsmen in this region, this state and this nation. There are two upcoming events down in Albany that are centered around it.
The Capital District Political Action Network is holding a gun rights rally this Tuesday, Feb. 12. Most of the details can be found on their Facebook page.
Later in the month, the New York State Rifle and Pistol Association’s fourth-annual rally, known previously as the Sportsmen’s Day, is scheduled for Feb. 28. Past speakers have included the NRA’s Wayne LaPierre and attendance is usually in the thousands. For more information, visit www.nysrpa.org.
As you can see, these are busy times. Enjoy the rest of your winter!
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 www.adkhunter.com.