Increase in temperatures impacts ice fishing throughout Central New York

Local News

CANASTOTA, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) – While some people don’t like the cold, ice fishers across Central New York are looking forward to hitting sub-zero temperatures.

As cold temperatures struck Central New York in late November, plenty of people have already seen the ice.

“Guys were out on the lake fishing before Christmas, which hasn’t happened in years,” said Jeff Tornabene, co-owner of Lakeside Outfitters.

But as warm weather recently and quickly spread across CNY, it’s put some winter recreation on hold.

“Unfortunately, the warm temperatures, mixed with the rain and the wind have kind of put a damper on that. The ice is pretty much gone off the lake now,” said Tornabene.

Still, some fishermen are testing the waters and making their way onto the lake.

“I wouldn’t be safe or comfortable walking on the ice in these conditions. It’s just not safe,” said Mike Lamendola, an ice fisher.

“Everybody gets frustrated with mother nature around this time because all they wanna do is go out and ice fish,” said Tornabene.

For Lakeside Outfitters, it’s the first season the store is open for business. Even with the weather changing, the bait shop continues to see a steady flow of traffic.

“December was pretty good. Everybody is, they’re getting the itch to start ice fishing,” said Tornabene.

Tornabene explained, the ice fishing season usually begins in the middle of January on Oneida Lake.

“It’s not a very long season. We like to say we average about three months but it’s a really hot and heavy three months. Everybody loves to do it, they get out and that’s kind of where we’re at now,” said Tornabene.

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation says safe ice is the number one consideration. The general rule to follow is a minimum of three to four inches of solid ice.

NYS DEC Ice Thickness Guide

The DEC also advises being especially alert in areas near shore, over moving bodies of water, and on lakes and ponds where streams enter and/or exit. It’s also important to use the buddy system while ice fishing. 

For more local news, follow Adrienne Smith on Twitter @AdrienneSmithTV

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