Valley Information – A whole bunch of Vermonters find out about ice fishing at Barnard’s Silver Lake

Valley Information Correspondent

Revealed: 1/28/2023 11:17:27 PM

Modified: 1/28/2023 11:17:13 PM

BARNARD — The northern pike, pumpkinseed and large- and small-mouth bass resting idly on the backside of Silver Lake couldn’t have anticipated the barrage of would-be ice fishermen that gathered above them on the slushy-covered frozen floor Saturday afternoon.

Greater than 350 folks turned as much as Silver Lake State Park to participate in Vermont’s free ice fishing day, which was hosted by the Vermont Fish & Wildlife and was open to all, resident and nonresident alike. Those that registered for the occasion bought the prospect to be taught the ins and outs of ice fishing from Fish & Wildlife workers posted at six completely different tutorial kiosks arrange on the frozen lake earlier than trudging out on their very own and augering their very own ice gap.

Tall coloured flags, whipping backwards and forwards within the blustering wind, highlighted every coaching part, of which attendees wanted to attend not less than three earlier than they may borrow ice-fishing gear and get to fishing. Tutorials addressed knot- and lure-making, ice security practices (together with what garments to put on on the ice and utilizing a spud bar to check how frozen the ice is), the right way to establish fish, the right way to drill holes within the ice utilizing an augur and, in fact, greatest practices for fishing within the ice itself.

Austin Galinat, an worker with Fish & Wildlife who manned the ice-fishing tutorial kiosk, stated persistence was key to catching the slow-moving fish lurking on the backside of Silver Lake, which he stated was about 15 toes deep within the spot beneath his kiosk.

“The fish are transferring slower, much less aggressive (than at different instances of the yr),” Galinat informed a gaggle of attendees huddled round his two holes within the ice. “You’ll really feel extra delicate bites in your line.”

Ice fishing, in contrast to common fishing, Galinat stated, makes use of small rods in order that the fisherman can really feel these delicate pulls on the road made by the curious fish swimming within the waters beneath. “Jigging,” the act of gently flicking the wrist holding the fishing rod upward, helps entice the fish’s consideration to the shiny lure and hook (Galinat additionally hooked midge flies to the ends of the lures for an additional little bit of motivation).

But even a talented fisherman nonetheless wants good luck — Galinat stated he’d had not but caught something of observe Saturday. Moreover the 1½-foot-long northern pike {that a} Fish & Wildlife worker had caught within the morning (and which was now getting used within the fish identification tent for instance the great issues that may include affected person ice fishing), a lot of the catches all through the day have been pretty small.

The scenes across the lake on Saturday confirmed teams of households, bundled up in heavy winter jackets and snow pants, trudging via the snow and slush to open areas within the ice whereas children (and some canine) jumped into snow banks or dragged sleds full of kit behind them.

One household, Paul and Julie Shay and their 3-year-old son, Paxton, diligently huddled round their ice gap whereas Paxton bobbed the rod up and down within the water.

Julie stated her household, who reside in New Hampshire however have been in Vermont visiting Paul’s sister, stated they’re at all times looking out for academic applications like this one. At one level, Paxton laid flat on his abdomen in order that he might stare straight down into his ice gap into the watery abyss.

“We haven’t caught something but,” Paxton stated. “We’re attempting.”

When requested in the event that they felt like persistence was an essential ability to have in an exercise like ice fishing, Paul agreed.

“It’s like I informed Paxton earlier, ‘Ninety-nine p.c of fishing is catching no fish,’ ” Shay stated.

Just a few holes over, College of Vermont scholar Grant Woods was discovering the identical factor. Standing rigidly in a purple parka and holding his quick rod a couple of toes above the water, Woods, 21, stated he’d “misplaced observe of time” whereas fishing and hadn’t seen greater than 45 minutes had handed since he’d first gotten underway.

Woods jigged the rod a couple of instances, earlier than mentioning that he wasn’t certain how he’d know if a fish did certainly chunk on his line. He’d by no means ice-fished earlier than however stated he did discover one facet of it interesting.

“It looks as if it’s a superb hangover remedy exercise,” Woods stated. “Simply stand round and wait to get chilly.”

Ray Couture may be reached with questions at

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