Northeast Pennsylvania Ice Fishing

Northeast Pennsylvania has consistant early ice fishing.

Northeast Pennsylvania Ice Fishing
Northeastern Pennsylvania is unquestionably the “ice fishing capital” of the Keystone State. This is due to the fact that it is blessed with a natural abundance of lakes to accommodate her legions of hard water enthusiasts. But, even more importantly, the geographic situation of NEPA Ice Country finds many lakes perched on mountain plateaus at elevations nearly 2,000 feet above sea level. Other NEPA waters are tucked in the hollows between these mountains and actually experience colder conditions than those reached on the mountain tops. Northeastern Pennsylvania is comprised of the following counties: Bradford, Carbon, Lackawanna, Luzerne, Lycoming, Monroe, Pike, Sullivan, Susquehanna, Wayne and Wyoming. It is not unusual to find winter temps in the region rivaling or dipping below those found in upstate New York. One measure of the northeast’s domination of Pennsylvania’s ice fishing scene is early ice. Year after year “first ice” in NEPA is 4 to 6 weeks earlier than in the rest of the state. I have personally made my first foray onto solid ice in NEPA on or about December 10th every year for the last four years.

Lake Wallenpaupack is one of NEPA's premiere ice fishing destinations.

Lake Wallenpaupack is one of NEPA’s premiere ice fishing destinations.

Early ice is one thing, but the quality of the Northeast Pennsylvania Ice Fishing is another. With hardwater destinations like Lake Wallenpaupack, Lake Jean, Lake Lackawanna, Promised Land, and Shohola Dam topping the list of favorites, there are litterally dozens of opportunities for ice fishermen on any given weekend. Fish species targeted run the gamut from the big three trout species available in the region: brook trout, brown trout, and rainbow trout to bluegills, sunfish, crappie, and perch. There are walleye, bass and pickerel in many of the lakes and good catches of all are reported with regularity. For fans of the esox family (toothy critters), all of the state park lakes in NEPA are regularly stocked with muskellunge. Some of these lakes have yielded specimens in the 40lb class. The lake at Frances Slocum State Park has a history of producing trophy muskies through the ice. There are opportunities for exotic species to be had through the ice at some locations. Lake Wallenpaupack has a reputation of producing a few trophy striped bass, 20lbs plus, every winter. I personally caught a northern pike in the twenty pound class two years ago at the “pack”. If you are interested in a truly unique ice fishing experience the frigid temps in NEPA can on occasion cause the Susquehanna River to freeze. When this occurs there is a cadre of locals anglers who have been waiting and watching for the opportunity to fish the river ice. Ice fishing on the river is without a doubt more dangerous than ice fishing on the lakes and ponds but the rewards are significant. Walleye, musky and northern pike are the prime targets but, channel catfish, 10 to 12 lbs, and monster carp, to 40 lbs, are frequently pulled out onto the ice.

If you want to learn more about ice fishing or the fantastic hard water fishing to be had in Northeastern Pennsylvania, the community is here to be a friend, lend a hand and be a resource in your icy pursuits. Whether you are a beginner or an icy veteran seasoned by many winters spent on our frozen lakes, you will find a warm fire, good friends, and extraordinary tales when you step through the doors of  IceFishin247.

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