Ice Fishing Trip Planning for New Territory

Ice Fishing Trip Planning for New Territory

Planning an ice fishing trip? Do to a strong El Nino, this winter looks to be the year of the road trip, especially for PA, down state NY and ice fishers on the southern edge of the ice belt . I am convinced that more of us than ever will be taking to the highways and heading north in search of first ice, early ice and possibly any ice at all. With that in mind I am offerng this article on the subject “Planning an Ice Fishing Trip, specifically into new territory”. This isn’t going to be a check list of what to take, I think most of us know what we need to go ice fishing. Instead, it will cover getting ready with information which will help guarantee, that when you get to your destination you have a game plan and get the most out of your time in the icelands.

Contour maps are available for planning an ice fishing trip.The first step in planning an ice fishing trip is deciding on a destination. This year I suspect that will be anywhere with ice for most of us. Looking for an area that will get ice early is not too difficult it needs to be the coldest place that you can think of within your reach and within parameters of your available time. For colder than average temperatures you need a northerly location with elevation, Stay away from the immediate great lakes area and river valleys. Once you have a general location in mind then you can start getting to the fine points. Smaller, shallower and sheltered lakes will freeze and hold ice earlier than vast and deep windswept lakes will. Too, the smaller sheltered bays on big lakes can develop ice much earlier than the main body of water does. The more lakes in your target area that you identify as icy potentials the more options you will have when you get on site and have to find safe ice.

Your next task, now that you have selected an area and a handful of likely lakes to ice fish on, is to learnNavionics has a vast inventory of detailed lake contour maps the lay of the land. What species of fish reside in the lakes you will be fishing and what the regulations are regarding taking them through the ice. You will also want to know where the public access points are and and lets not forget bait and tackles. You will probably be staying overnight for a day or more so a motel or cabin that can accommodate ice fishermen will be necessary, as will a good pub or restaurant for a meal and a brew to bring a great day on the ice to a fitting close. The internet has made gathering all this information easier than it used to be but, one still has to dig and be willing to look in unexpected places if you want to fish like a local.

The internet has been a boon to DYI adventure planners like me. You can use Google or one of the other web search engines to find information on virtually any subject. I like google, probably because that is what I grew up using, so that is how I will proceed with this section of the discussion but you can substitute your own personal favorite search provider with similar results.

A screen shor from Google Maps of Lake George

Google Maps are invaluable for planning an ice fishing trip.

Be creative when you are doing your info gathering searches. Look in the local Chamber of Commercesites. Follow the links for activities, not just the ice fishing links, but the hiking, X-country skiing and snowshoeing links. I recently found an unmarked path to a lake I have always wanted to fish listed in a snowshoeing trail map. A short level drag to a lake that was seemingly inaccessible. Use google maps satellite view to see under water sandbars and weed beds. You can use state resources like NY states extensive list of contour maps, and their special ice fishing regulations. Navionics has an app for ten dollars that has some really USA good maps and some that are just carbon copies of what is available from other sources. You keep them with you in your smart phone and with your gps turned on you can use them to navigate to under ice structures that would nearly impossible to find using the poke and hope method.

Getting back the the C of C listings, use them for your lodging, dining and bait and tackle needs. Often asking a few questions of a hotel or B&T owner will yield a wealth of information that will be useful. lastly do not forget web forums like and as a information resource. I have had great success searching in the archives of these sites mining info. Bluntly asking for info online will get you a share of derision but a well placed personal message to someone who seems to know what is what will often result in a discreet reply with some info to point you in the right direction.

Planning an ice fishing trip is something that I have aways enjoyed. Digging in and rooting out the info necessary for a great trip helps to pass the time while we wait for safe ice. Knowing that you did it yourself is a great reward at the end of a successful adventure.

Ice Fishing Oneida Lake, an Introduction

Ice Fishing Oneida Lake

Ice Fishing Oneida lake I started ice fishing Oneida Lake when I was 12 years old. I spent quite a few days out in the blustery cold and sunny days spudding holes with my uncle, who lived near the lake for many years. We never used a shack, electronics, power augers, machines to travel, heaters etc.…. As I grew older, I found myself, spending more and more time open water and ice fishing. I’ve enjoyed open water fishing the lake, but, found ice fishing to be more relaxing and there is less traffic to contend with. I will mention, I have all of the proper gear to fish with now, that I didn’t have when I fished with my uncle. He’d tell me.. “what do You need heat for? We’ll get warm when we return home”. Being an ex-Vietnam vet….he was tough!! Spending time with my family on the ice and, sharing my passion with them is important to me. My son goes most times, but, my wife and daughter get out once in a while as well. There have been some very productive fishing days, very slow fishing days and, well, Mother Oneida can deal her hand at any time she wants to. You could be set up in one direction for wind and, another minute she can change wind direction and wind speed like someone threw a switch. Sunny one minute and, whiteout blizzard the next minute, you can’t see 10’ in front of you. Personally, over the years, I have battled her more times than most people would like to. But, I still go back…

Oneida Lake is the largest inland lake in New York state located in Both Oneida and Oswego Counties. The lake is 21 miles long, east to west, and, with a width of 5 miles, north to south. Average depth of the lake is 25’ with the max depth of 55’.

Parking and access points are located around the lake. Godfrey Point State launch, Big Bay, Oneida Lake is the largest inland lake in New yorkCleveland docks; Apps Landing, Williams Beach, Constantia; Mill Street; North Bay, Lake Street; Sylvan Beach to name a few. Please use caution whenever you decide to access the lake at any of these accesses. The ice conditions aren’t always the same or safe as the other. They could change at any time. Get info from the local bait shops for ice conditions. Or read posts about those bodies of water Your thinking of fishing on forums. Some of the best info is from the ice anglers themselves.

Bait shops around the lake are as follows. Bartell road Bait and Tackle, located on Bartell Road, Brewerton, NY. App’s Bait and Tackle, Located on St. Rt. 49 in Cleveland, NY. East Shore Bait and Tackle, Sylvan Beach, NY. Mickey’s Bait and Tackle, North Syracuse, NY. Gander Mountain, Cicero, NY. They all carry tackle and bait needed for ice fishing Oneida Lake.

Many people use Jigging rods and reels, tip ups and, tip downs to fish through the ice on Oneida. Common baits that are used are as follows…Swedish pimple spoons, jigging raps, kastmaster spoons, larger demon jigs, silver, gold and copper colored spoons all work well. Some people tip the hooks with minnow head only, some use the whole minnow. I prefer jigging mostly and, always use a dead stick rig with a slip bobber float with a lively minnow hooked through the back for the times a spoon or jigging rap doesn’t seem to entice the fish into biting.

Species of fish that are caught through the ice are Walleye, Yellow Perch, Smallmouth bass, white perch, bluegills, crappies, sunfish, pickerel, catfish and burbout. Panfish and pickeral are caught in shallow bays, while walleye, perch, and the other mentioned fish are caught in deeper water. My personal best walleye caught is 25 ¾” and, a 13 ¾” yellow perch through the ice. There have been bigger of both species caught.

Enjoying a little serenity, ice fishing Oneida Lake,Early ice makes for some really good fishing. Makes travel for walkers easy to get to their fishing spots. Early ice can also be a dangerous ice to walk, if, you don’t know the ice. Always carry a spud and try to travel with a partner. The same goes for late ice. Travel with snowmobiles is good most of the winter. Be cautious when the lake receives a couple of feet of snow on the ice. The weight of the snow can produce water that soaks the ice from below, making a slushy mess underneath, Stopping and starting can be rough, even for a snowmobile. Quads are good to go until the snow stacks up. Travel with quads and, walking is nearly impossible at that point.

I hope this, will help some of the new Oneida Lake ice fisherman have some success, catching a few fish and have an enjoyable outing.  I also hope that you enjoy the lake as much as I do.

As I finish writing this, I know, not too long from now, I’ll be enjoying a little serenity, ice fishing  Oneida Lake, my favorite lake. Have a safe and fun hard water season!!

Oneida Lake, NY Ice Fishing Conditions and Reports

Oneida Lake, NY Chat

Oneida Lake (east) Contour Map

Oneida Lake (west) Contour Map


The Anorakk Sikre Buoyance Suit is the Ultimate Flotation, Cold Weather, Multi-Climate, Multi-Weather suit.


Expedition Outdoors’ Anorakk Sikre is the ultimate cold weather, cold water protection suit for exploringExpedition Outdoors Anorakk Sikre your unknowns. Waterproof, breathable and floatation functional, Anorrakk Sikre is the new benchmark of all-climate suits with the longest warranty in the industry. Designed to immediately upright your head and upper torso, Sikre’s Newton rating aids buoyance in the roughest water or ice conditions.

Sikre buoyance suit is designed for warmth and comfort and protection in cold spring, fall or winter temperatures. Sikre in Inuit Norwegian means protection, security and safeguard in a variety of weather conditions.

• Sikre breathable and waterproof dual season shell
• Double Stitched 100% sealed seams
• Sikre buoyancy system exceeds USCG Newton rating*
• 5000MM W/P, MVP protection
• Exclusive Iron Seal waterproof seat and knees
• 2-way YKK Sure-Lock healing zippers
• Body heat regulating parka vents
• Internal drawstrings to secure warmth and minimize water load
• Over-sized pockets with water ports
• Removable hood with custom shaped visor
• Exclusive hood and collar “upright” flotation design
• 5mm Neoprene cuffs with internal 2mm water seal cuffs
• Safety Whistle for rescues
• Waterproof chest pockets
• Internal pocket storage systems
• Exclusive “Safety” bib straps

** The plunge, which created an inertia with a 35 pound block forcing the user 3.5 feet under the water with a recovery of 1.2 seconds.  Viewers will notice the head and upper torso pop-up first to prevent water aspiration.  This is a key to cold water survival.
Note: Competing suits layback into the water.  No forced energy into the water.  Sikre is not USCG approved, but exceeds their minimum standards of 69.1 Newtons.  Sikre rates 71 – 75 Newtons

For more details or to purchase an Anorakk Sikre multi-climate suit visit:
Expedition Outdoors

Visit’s Ice Fishing Community for information on their
Annual Ice Fishing Tournament Online.

FM approved

HD Ice, Dynamic Lures, High Action Ice Lure

Dynamic Lures has produced one of the most versatile Ice Fishing Lures on the marketDynamic Lures, HD Ice, High Action Ice Lure

We have a new sponsor at Dynamic Lures. Dynamic Lures has a host of open water offerings, crankbaits, swimbaits and stickbaits but it was their HD Ice, High Action Ice Lure, that caught my attention. The HD Ice comes in nine color schemes each with its own individual pattern. Available colors are: Ghost White, Gold/Orange, Trout Natural, Glow, Bubble Gum, Perch, Fire Craw, Silver/Blue and Fire Tiger. This sinking lure is 2 inches long and weighs 1/5th oz. Its size makes it perfect for enticing slab crappie and jumbo perch out of a school of mixed size fish. That it catches trout can be seen on videos posted at the Dynamic Lures website. It also seems destined to be a very effective walleye catcher. Here is what they have to say about it on their webpage.

The HD ICE comes in nine color schemes each with its own individual pattern

The High Action Ice Lure: Dynamic Lures has produced one of the most versatile Ice Fishing Lures on the market. With its hollow construction, Dynamic was able to create the perfect combination of sound and action that anglers depend on in the winter months. This vertical jigging lure was created specially for trout and other small to medium sized fish. This lure is not your typical ice fishing bait. This is a high action lure that brings in vicious bites. If you are looking for an advantage on the ice, look no further than the HD Ice.

Dynamic Lure’s HD Ice has been featured in In-Fisherman, the In-Fisherman Ice Guide and in the Angler Magazine

If your like me you are always looking for versatile new lures. I like to try them on a varitey of species and see what I can get them to do and how they will preform on the ice. The HD Ice looks very promising. I can’t wait to give them a shot.

Visit’s Forum to get a 15% coupon code for the Dynamic HD Ice High Action Lure.

You can see all the HD Ice colors and patterns at: Dynamic Lures