PORT HENRY — Moriah resident Thomas Baker checked the tip-ups in front of his wooden ice shanty and predicted a busy weekend on the lake.
“It’ll be jam-packed this weekend. The ice is a good 11 inches thick. It’s good ice fishing for a change.”
As of Tuesday, five ice shanties had been moved on to the ice on Lake Champlain’s Bulwagga Bay, but anglers say dozens more are coming if the temperature stays below freezing.
The weather has been too warm the last few years for the ice to freeze thick enough, Baker said, but this year, sub-zero temperatures have finally given them a season.
“We just need the fish. I’ve caught three perch so far today. But it’s early in the season.”
The weather warmed up for a couple days, with rain predicted, but it’s supposed to get cold again.
“The rain won’t hurt the ice,” Baker said Tuesday. “It’ll melt the snow on top.”
He used his four-wheel all-terrain vehicle to pull his ice shanty out.
“I wasn’t the first out here with a four-wheeler. I wouldn’t bring a truck out, but the ice will support a four-wheeler.”
Baker has two poles out and seven tip-ups, which are ice-fishing rigs made of wood, plastic or metal with a line spool and hook and bait. They are lowered into holes drilled in the ice.
His two-hole ice shanty not only has a heater but an AM-FM radio, cellphone and some fish models hanging outside.
“I wanted to get artistic with my shanty. I like to be out here. I was born and raised on the lake.”
The fishing isn’t just good in Port Henry and Moriah but all the way to Ticonderoga and south, Baker said.