Warmth is keeping ice fishers away and expecting a late start to the season

Local News

IRONDEQUOIT, NY (WROC) – December was nearly three degrees above average, and that has prevented any sort of ice fishing season so far in Western New York. 

The New York State Department of Conservation (NYSDEC) has continued to publish updates on ice coverage for ice fishing and still there are no spots available. 

“Everybody’s Gung ho, ready and waiting for the ice to come in,” said Mike Gatz, shop manager of S & R Bait and Tackle in Rochester. He says ice fishers usually get going in December after four or five inches of ice forms. “With this warmer weather it’s not coming in as thick as it should be.” 

Rochester is also lagging in the snow department, nearing in on almost a two-foot deficit through early January. 

Fisherman Mark Najder prefers the summertime fishing, but has done plenty on the ice as well – saying this year has been tough for those wanting to get out on the ice. “I have plenty of friends that are just chomping at the bit, said Najder. “They bought new ice tents, new equipment, and with everything out there, it can be a lot of fun.” 


Ice should be measured every time you go out to fish. It should be four inches thick of clear ice that is not over running water, according to the DEC. It is also important to take care near docks, creeks, and streams. Some of the most popular fish to catch along Lake Ontario in the winter are yellow perch, rock bass, and northern pike. 

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