For the second year, NY DEC Fisheries staff will be surveying anglers coming off the ice to collect data on target species, the number caught, and size. Participation in the program is voluntary but strongly encouraged. As an incentive to participate, anglers will be entered into a drawing for several ice fishing gear prizes, including a jet sled, jigging rod, rechargeable aerator, and bait bucket.
The information on ice fishing angler use characteristics on the New York side of Lake Champlain is outdated. The last ice fishing survey conducted by New York was in 1999, in coordination with Vermont Fish and Wildlife (NYSDEC 2000). This survey predates significant changes to species composition, fisheries management practices, and environmental disturbances in the lake, including the introduction of aquatic invasive species, increased sediment and phosphorus inputs, and climate change. New York does not have the necessary information base to understand angler use and expectations to help guide management actions.
Current ice angler catch rates, harvest rates, preferred target species, and angler opinion information about the Lake Champlain ice fishery is needed for informed management decisions and as an informational base to measure management actions against. This information will also complement a planned open-water creel survey to provide a more complete direct measure of the fishery. Together the surveys will provide a foundation for the development of future fishery management plans.
The 2022 ice fishing survey will take place at four access points: Plattsburgh Boat Launch on Cumberland Bay; Willsboro Bay Boat Launch; Bulwagga Bay Campground; and South Bay Boat Launch.
Having an understanding of what anglers are harvesting and targeting will help us continue to best manage the Lake Champlain fishery as one of the top fishing destinations in the state.
A PDF copy of the Lake Champlain Ice Fishing Creel Survey plan can be found on DEC’s website. A summary of 2021 survey results will be available in early 2022.