ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — It’s not just the lack of snow that’s been having an effect on the community, but the lack of ice on Lake Ontario has been having an impact as well, and it goes beyond the winter activities that require snow.

The snowflakes may have been flying this week, but ice cover on Lake Ontario is still very low with popular activities like ice fishing off to a slower start. 

The manager at Grantley’s Bait and Tackle Adam Costich tells me,

“A lot of the guys that are ice fishing are traveling two, three hours away to get on ice. Is it safe? It’s risky, but one day it’s safe and one day it’s not. Around here though there is none.”

Lake Ontario is just one of the Great Lakes seeing historically low ice coverage for the month of January, with the Great Lakes running close to 50-year historical lows as ice cover sits at just 4.7%. Adam Costich says that the weather can have a huge impact on his business.

“Obviously you don’t have the ice guys and the ice guys they, you know they buy a lot of bait, they buy a lot of jigs, you know, and it adds up, so yeah you know we’re taking a hit as far as that goes for sure,” Costich said.

On the flip side, less ice means there have been less ice rescues having to be done according to Petty Officer Greg Shell, Public Affairs Specialist with Coast Guard 9th District Great Lakes Region, who says they’ve had to make some accommodations of their own. 

“Even some of our crews who would normally train on the ice they’re implementing other strategies in order to get the crucial ice rescue training in putting pads in the water pretending those are ice shelves, things like that,” Shell said.

In the meantime, ice fishers like Adam say they’re hopeful that getting just one week of colder temperatures will be enough for ice fishers to get back out there. 

“I do think you’ll be able to get on Sodus Bay. You will be able to get on Irondequoit at some point, but it’s just going to take a few more weeks I think,” Costich says.