HT ENTERPRISES, INC., the industry leader in the development of premium brand tip-ups and tip-up related accessories, is pleased to introduce the:


This newest addition to the famous HT Polar Tip-Up family features an integrated light and buzzer. This strike alert system that is perfect for night fishing applications.  When a fish strikes, a light on the end of the trip shaft is activated. This means, not only is the strike easily visible, but you can identify if the fish is moving and how fast, simply by watching the rotating light!  Just in case you aren’t looking when a fish strikes, you’ll also hear a simultaneous, audible signal. POLAR “STRIKE ALERT” TIP-UP

The “Strike Alert” system is powered by two universal button style batteries (LR-41), included with purchase.

For more information, write: HT Enterprises, Inc., P.O. Box 909, Campbellsport, WI, 53010 or visit WWW.HTENT.COM.











NERO SUPER PREMIUM COMPACT ICE AUGERS rip through the ice like no drill you’ve ever used beforeNERO SUPER PREMIUM COMPACT ICE AUGERS For 2017, HT ENTERPRISES, INC. introduces an amazing  and revolutionary new ice auger engineered specifically for today’s elite hardwater anglers!

Designed, tested and relied upon by top Russian competitors in European ice tournaments, these premium, high performance NERO SUPER PREMIUM COMPACT ICE AUGERS rip through the ice like no drill you’ve ever used before—and they’re now available here in North America.  Selectively designed to revolutionize ice angler mobility and efficiency, NERO SUPER PREMIUM COMPACT ICE AUGERS feature rugged, non-chip, ultra-sharp 60G rated hardened steel blades that effortlessly open old holes and will even drive through sand-laced ice without dulling. The Nero’s 62” off-set handles dramatically increase torque and overall cutting power, plus feature secondary adjustable height settings of 53” and 44”—and uniquely, fold down to 25” for convenient, compact transport and storage!


 NERO SUPER PREMIUM COMPACT ICE AUGERS come in 5, 6 and 7” diameters, and are also available in kits that come complete with a shaft extension to permit simple conversion when encountering exceptionally thick ice conditions, and a universal adapter featuring a select “side handle” system that eliminates twisting and promotes both stability and safety when using your NERO SUPER PREMIUM COMPACT ICE AUGERS in combination with a rechargeable, portable drill.


For more information, about, HT’S NERO® SUPER PREMIUM COMPACT ICE AUGERS write: HT Enterprises, Inc., P.O. Box 909, Campbellsport, WI, 53010, or visit WWW.HTENT.COM.

Safe Ice for Ice Fishing

 Safe ice is a relative term, just because you see someone on the ice do not assume the whole lake is frozen solid.

Safe Ice

I have seen a ton of posts online lately where people are looking for safe ice. Reality is no ice is safe ice. There is always inherent danger when fishing on ice. I know the intent of the people posting the question isn’t so they would get a response and just head out all gung-ho to fish the body of water mentioned, at least I would hope it wasn’t. I’m sure it is more of a question as to where someone has found “safe” ice, and where they should start looking for their safe ice to fish on.

Safe ice is a relative term. What one would consider safe ice another may not. I grew up skating and playing hockey. I did a lot of swamp/pond skating in my day. I look back on how we determined if the ice was safe and think what were we thinking? Lucky for us if we did fall in the swamp/ponds were very shallow and not as life threatening as some bodies of water would have been. Once the pond had skimmed we would first get on the edge of the ice and see if we could see bubbles frozen into the ice and then estimate how far down they were. We would make our way out further listening for cracks and signs of weakness in the ice. These swamps/ponds generally froze up evenly so we were usually good to go.Weeds frozen in the ice will absorb heat energy from the sun and create soft spots in the ice. The only weak spots would be around weed clumps. Ask me how I know that….OK I’ll tell you. Rushing to the pond one morning I decided to take a short cut out to the area where we set up to play hockey. In the middle of winter this wasn’t a problem however this was early on and as stated the bushed areas had not frozen enough to support me. I went through up to my thighs. As I thrashed along breaking more ice and eventually ended up on one of the clumps of weeds. At that point I was able to jump from clump to clump eventually finding safe ice. Then the cold walk home to change clothes and get back to the ice before I lost too much skating time. Oh to be a kid again. When it came to larger lakes and ponds we generally waited to see older kids or adults out there before we would venture out.

Beaver Dams, food piles, and lodges are another place to avoid when traveling over the ice..I’d like to think thru the years that I learned a bit about what safe ice looks like both at the beginning of the season and at the end. Those years skating was just the start of my learning about ice. My early ice fishing adventures consisted of my father and one of his work buddies out on the lake down the road from our house. I can’t say I remember too much about it other than building a fire on the ice, eating Keilbasa and beans and playing around. If my memory is correct my father would fish a few times a year (usually early ice as he only had a spud) and was far from hard core. At some point and I don’t remember when I decided I’d take up ice fishing using my father’s gear. Seeing as I had already established a pattern of wait and see for larger bodies of water this is what I also used when ice fishing. I can’t stress enough how valuable a spud is to early ice fishing. Early on I always chipped as I went. I’d chip a hole determine the ice thickness and move a short distance chip another and so on until I reached the area I wanted to fish. Back then 2 ½” of ice was good for me, today I am older and wiser (heavier too) so I prefer 3 ½” to 4” of ice. Early on only having a spud also meant my fishing season was only as long as I was willing to chip holes, usually somewhere between 8 and 12″ of ice thickness. Since I also skated the abbreviated fishing season wasn’t a big deal to me and I’d just switch over to playing more hockey. There is also another result of ice fishing like that that is best avoided. If you sweat first you will get colder faster. Believe me I know. Six holes at 8″ of ice thickness will make you sweat. No shelter and cold temps you will get cold. OK back to ice thickness.

The next stage of my ice experience came when I decided to go all in and buy a hand auger. Early ice I would drill the holeAt first ice there will often be areas of open water to beware of. and soon realized that the act of drilling the hole required me to stand close to the area I wanted to check and probably wasn’t a great idea if the ice was not safe. I went back to the spud for checking the thickness. I also through the years learned what the “good” ice sounded like when I hit it with my spud. So I now walk slamming the spud/chipper into the ice in front of me as I walk along. I still stop every so often to verify thickness.

Another word of caution and this applies to early as well as any time of the ice season. Just because you see someone in one spot on the ice do not assume the whole lake is frozen solid. My early observations told me the larger bodies of water did not always just instantly have safe ice everywhere. Since I was usually one of the first anglers out on ponds I learned to read my local waters and the patterns of how they would typically freeze. I say typically because every year can be different and if you intend on being an early ice angler you should observe the lake you want to fish prior to it freezing solid. You will see what areas catch first and what areas didn’t, an indicator as to areas where caution should be taken. My first experience with this was while fishing Canobie Lake in Windham NH. I often fished alone due to the fact that all my buddies thought I was crazy to ice fish, too boring for them. I knew the north end by the boat ramp always froze first. One day I was setting up traps and I always made note of the stress cracks or just general difference in the appearance of the ice. I had three traps set and was about to step on some of that different looking ice when I said go back get the spud and check it first. I am thankful to this day that I did that as the spud went through the ice with little effort. One side of that line in the ice had 3″ of good black ice, the other less than an inch. Another lesson learned that day.

Snow on the ice, yes snow on the ice greatly hinders your ability to read the differences in the ice appearance, so extra caution should be taken. Snow will actually insulate the ice and slow down the formation of ice below it. Snow can also make or break a season as well. With little ice  a snow storm can actually increase ice thickness. The weight of the snow on the ice forces water up through the cracks in the ice saturating the snow and when it re freezes we have what is called snow ice. Not nearly as strong as black ice but is better than nothing. The past couple weeks we were fishing on half and half ice, half snow and half black ice.

You can learn to read the story in the ice. Here is a boundary where the ice on the right froze earlier and is thicker than the fresh black ice on the left. Large lakes and stress cracks or pressure ridges: Ice expands when it freezes and as it gets thicker and expands more the ice has to go somewhere. Smaller ponds the edges push up. On larger lakes where ice masses meet each other they also push up against each other creating weak areas in the ice. Sometimes they push up breaking ice on each side then settle back where it looks like there is no ridge at all yet the ice on either side has been broken into chunks creating danger zones. To this day I give stress cracks/pressure ridges the utmost respect.

I hope this has helped someone when it comes to ice safety. There are so many factors involved they are all hard to capture in a post. I hope I have done a decent job here and hopefully opened some eyes as to what to look out for and to always check for yourself for your “safe” ice.

Be safe out there. Mother Nature is very unforgiving.

Visit Our Ice Fishing Community

More Ice Fishing Safety Info:
PA Fish & Boat Commission

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
New Hampshire fish and Game

North East Pennsylvania’s Polar Express, Ice Fishing Pennsylvania

Ice Stripers, although not a common catch stripers are pulled from Lake Wallenpaupack every winter.NEPA is blessed with myriad lakes which support a wide variety of popular sport and table fish species. Add to that a climate which trends colder than most of the state and you have the makings of and ice fishing paradise. Although not by design, some highways in NEPA are situated such that residents can hop on an expressway and be ice fishing Pennsylvania at any number of fine destinations in an hour or less. Route 84 in particular passes by a string of significant ice fishing lakes which are just a few minutes off the main drag. Climb on board as we explore North East Pennsylvania’s Polar Express,
an Ice Fisherman’s Paradise

Located just south of Scranton, PA off route 380 is the western terminus of interstate route 84. Traveling rte. 84 in an easterly direction will bring us to exit 20, rte. 507 and Lake Wallenpaupack.. Route 507 follows the lake at a distance from the upper end, where Wallenpaupack Creek enters the lake. It continues along the eastern shore connecting with rte.6 at Wilsonville and onto the PPL dam. PPL has provided strategically placed boat launches and access points all around the lake. Ledgedale, Ironwood Point, Wilsonville, and Caffery recreation areas have parking and reasonable access for ice fishermen. Shuman Point natural area can be used as parking for ice fishing but it involves hiking a trail for about one half mile to get to the ice.In addition to the PPL access areas the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat commission maintains the Mangan Cove Boat Launch. This large facility is located on the northwestern shore off rte. 590

Fish species found at the “pack” include: smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, rock bass, bluegill, pumpkinseed, calico, walleye, muskellunge, northern pike, pickerel, rainbow trout, brown trout, brook trout, channel catfish and yellow perch. Striped bass and hybrid striped bass have been stocked in the lake, and although not specifically targeted, a few are pulled through the ice every season.

The shoreline of this rocky lake follows the contours of the hills and valleys that were inundated when the impoundment was created. There are many coves projecting off the main lake channel. Try the backs of the coves if you like to chase flags for pickerel. You will catch an occasional northern pike or largemouth bass using large shiners in the coves too.

The inundated Wallenpaupack Creek bed runs the entire length of the lake. It is a focal point for baitfish movement and the predator species that prey on them. Stick to the creek bed and adjacent features if you are after walleyes, trout and stripers. Perch and other panfish can be found in deeper water where the coves meet the main lake and on the flats that occur near Wilsonville, Shumans Point and across from Ironwood Point.

Upper Promised Lake boasts some slammer pickerel.Following rte. 84 east to exit 26 brings us to rte. 390, at this point we are just a few minutes from Promised Land State ParkPLSP features ice fishing on two lakes, 422-acre Upper Promised Land Lake and the park’s other lake, 173 acre Lower Promised Land Lake. Both of these offer great opportunities for ice fishing enthusiasts. Primary fish species targeted by ice anglers include: largemouth bass, pickerel, calicos yellow perch, and bluegills. Lower PL Lake is designated as approved trout waters and stocked with brook, brown and rainbow trout by the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission.

There are several parking areas provided around Upper Promised Land that ice Promised Land State Park's resident eagles are ever watchful for a free lunch.fishermen can use to access the lake. The aptly named Pickerel Point offers access to the central lake area and is a good area to try if pickerel and bass are your quarry. The Snow Shanty access is popular with panfishermen and there is a large parking area with access near the dam off rte. 390 that will put you on deeper waters. Lower PL Lake can be accessed via two parking boat launch facilities. One is located on the shallow and weed choked inlet end and the other is near the deeper end of the lake near the dam and outlet. Don’t be surprised to find that you have company observing your ice fishing activities. Bald eagles inhabit the park year round. They will quickly swoop down on any fish left on the ice unattended. Remember that feeding the eagles is a federal crime and you can be arrested for doing so.

Our last stop on the Polar Express is Shohola Dam, also known as Shohola Marsh Reservoir and Shohola Lake. Shohola is a 1,137-acre manmade lake located on Game Lands No. 180 in Pike County. The Pennsylvania Game Commission created the lake in 1967 to enhance waterfowl production in the area. In the process, they created an awesome ice fishing resource.  This is an exposed lake; up on top of the Pocono Plateau the wind can be brutal. Also be sure to check the ice thickness often, there is a significant current in the channel that will freeze later and thaw earlier than the surrounding ice. Access to Shohola Reservoir is provided via 3 boat launch parking areas. Two of them are located near the outlet of the lake and the other one is about midway up the lake on the northern shore. To reach it you must follow an oftentimes icy and unplowed game lands road. Shohola offers really good pickerel and bass fishing as well as better than average fishing for perch, bluegill and calico. This is a very shallow and weedy lake. The deepest parts, at around 10 feet of water, are the creek channel and the areas nearest the dam. Some panfishermen use the weeds to their advantage. They find small openings in the weeds and harvest the panfish using the area. Some anglers will even use heavy tungsten jigs to punch through the weed cover to reach the bluegills and pumpkinseeds living under the weed bed.

This 22 inch Shohola largemouth bass was taken on a tip up baited with a large chub.Tip ups are the ticket for the bass and pickerel at Shohola. Large chubs and shiners on quick strike rigs do the trick.  If you are after slammer pickerel a wire rig is recommended. Some guys will thread colored beads and spinner blades onto their leaders to add a bit of noise, and flash to the struggling bait. The weeds in Shohola offer the bass and pickerel lots of food and cover allowing them to grow to healthy proportions. Be ready for action and don’t be too surprised of you catch an icy trophy.

With a line up of lakes such as those strung along rte. 84 it is easy to see why I like to call NEPA’s Polar Express and ice fisherman’s paradise. Hop in your vehicle and see if one of the fish lurking in the depths will punch your ticket.

Pennsylvania Ice Fishing Reports

View NEPA Polar Expressway Route #1 in a larger map