The Department of Environmental Conservation is encouraging new and experienced anglers to get out and safely enjoy ice fishing.

DEC Commisioner Basil Seggos said:

From small local ponds to large lakes and reservoirs, New York has a tremendous array of ice fishing opportunities for anglers to experience close to home. Many fish species are active throughout the winter months and the fishing can be just as good as during the open water season. As always, before venturing onto the ice, DEC asks all anglers to make sure the ice is thick enough to fish safely.

In terms of safety, four inches of solid clear ice is safe for anglers who are accessing the ice on foot. They should be cautious as ice thickness can vary on waterbodies and even within the same body of water. Anglers should test the ice using an auger or spud bar.

As part of the Governor's "New York Open for Fishing and Hunting" initiative, the weekend of February 13-14 has been deemed a free fishing weekend. You do not need a fishing license during this period, as that requirement is waived during that time.

This would be a great time for anglers to experience ice fishing for the first time. First-timers are encouraged to read the ice fishing chapter of the I Fish NY Beginners Guide to Freshwater Fishing for information on how to get started with ice fishing.

The use of fish for bait is common when ice fishing and bait fish may be used in most, but not all, waters open to ice fishing.

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