Warm winter means no ice fishing on Lake Erie

Still other options in region for anglers

Mike Baggerman
February 21, 2020 - 3:00 am

Lake Erie in January 2018 (WBEN Photo/Mike Baggerman)


BUFFALO, N.Y. (WBEN) - This winter is likely a lost season for anyone who hoped to go ice fishing on Lake Erie.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Lake Erie has only about three percent of the lake covered by ice. Most of the ice on Lake Erie is at the western end of the lake, closer to Detroit, though most of it is at less than two-inch thickness.

"Even though the water has been open...some of the guys...said it's a blessing and a curse because they don't have to deal with ice coming down the river," Jim Hanley, a prominent local fisherman, said. "But they do have to deal with murky water because we don't have ice covered during the winter and those waves are stirring everything up and sends mud and shuts them down."

Hanley said he doesn't go ice fishing often and that the warmer weather is good for him because it could mean the ice boom is removed earlier than normal.

Despite Lake Erie not being an option for ice fishing in 2020, Niagara Outdoors owner Jeff Pippard said there is no shortage of popular spots in Western New York.

"In Lake Ontario there's a lot of waterways," Pippard said. "All of the harbors in Lake Ontario are being fished from here to Rochester, past, over up into Syracuse and into Watertown. All of those harbors are being fished and being fished really well, especially this last quarter of the year."

He also said there are inlands spots like Silver Lake and Cayuga Lake that are still popular among local anglers.

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation recommends Beaver Island State Park Marina and Big Six Mile Creek State Marina as popular ice fishing waters. Wilson Harbor is listed as a popular spot in Niagara County. Other popular spots in the region can be found on the DEC website under Region 9 Ice Fishing.


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