Every year, thousands of people camp on the shores of Lake Champlain, but very few actually spend a night on the lake -- especially in the heart of winter. Yet that is exactly what some dedicated anglers do on Missisquoi Bay, where the ice fishing can be as hot as the weather is cold. We hit the hard water of Missisquoi Bay on Lake Champlain to enjoy some exciting ice fishing for northern pike. And experience a comfy night on the ice thanks to Gilbert Gagne of Martin’s Store in Highgate Springs where we rented our overnight accommodations. We also meet up with a group of anglers that have made spending the night on the ice an annual tradition.
When many people think of ice fishing, the picture of tip-ups comes to mind. While this type of tackle is still very popular with anglers in search of lake trout, salmon, Northern pike or walleye, a growing number of winter fisherman are now "jigging" for panfish. These fish are flat, shorter than 12 inches and under a pound. They're finicky and catching them requires a delicate hand on the pole and just the right lure. Blue gill, crappie, sunfish and perch are the panfish of choice for these hardy anglers who brave cold temperatures and stiff winds on the ice. Host Lawrence Pyne heads out onto Lake Champlain in search of a tasty winter meal of panfish.
- About.com Crappie and
- The Ice Fishing Home Page
- New England Sportsman Network
-Ice Fishing in New England Page
- On Ice Tour
- Trout Unlimited - Vermont State Council
- Classic Outfitters
861 Williston Road
So. Burlington, VT 05403
- Martin's General Store
General Delivery Rt. 7
Highgate Springs, VT 05460
- Nichols & Dymes
9 Blair Park
Williston, VT 05494
When many people think of ice fishing they think perch, crappie and other panfish that are popular with winter anglers. But from the third Saturday in January to the second Saturday in March on Lake Whiloughby in the Northeast Kingdom, fishermen turn their attention to bigger game under the ice. That's when lake trout season has anglers dreaming of twenty-pound-plus lunkers being pulled through the ice. The lake is famous for producing some of the largest trout in New England. A good-size laker trout in Whiloughby is between eight and ten pounds. But in 1986, Barry Cahoon of Danville went into the record books by pulling a twenty-six pounder out of the lake. Going after trout in January isn't for everyone. You have to be willing to dig through two feet of ice and put in some long hours watching your tip-ups in cold conditions. But for many New Englanders a day on the lake is more than just fishing. It's a chance to catch up with old friends, experience nature in the winter and, for a moment, dream a little of a big one on the end of your line. Host Lawrence Pyne joins Barry on a brisk February morning of fishing for big lake trout on Lake Whiloughby.
By the time February roles around most fishermen are chomping at the bit for warm weather to arrive. But a dedicated group of ice fishermen look forward to late winter just as eagerly. They know that the tail end of ice fishing season is one of the best times to catch a huge northern pike. Of the top 20 pike entered in the Vermont record fish program more than half were pulled through the ice in February and March. Many of them came from Glenn Lake in Western Rutland County and a good share were caught by just one man, Joe Bruno of Castleton.
Known as Mr. Ice Fishing, Dave Genz can turn just about any angler into a successful ice fisherman. The days of drilling a few holes and fishing that same area for hours are long gone thanks to many of Dave's innovations. The introduction of electronics and portable shanties has Dave and his crew constantly on the go. We hook up with Dave and a few diehard ice fishermen on the southern end of Lake Champlain to learn some of Dave's techniques.
Host Lawrence Pyne joins Barry Cahoon on a brisk February morning of fishing for big lake trout on Lake Whiloughby. Then, we visit the banquet at the Montpelier Elk's Club, where certified measurer Ron Boucher shows us how The Boone & Crockett Club maintains records for North America's big game animals. Lastly, host Marianne Eaton joins members of the Mad River Rocket Company for a hike up Granville Gulf and a run on the powder.