The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) wishes this publication to remind ice fishermen to fish on ice responsibly. Three to four inches of solid ice is usually safe for anglers accessing ice on foot. Ice thickness can vary on various bodies of water or even within the same body of water. Anglers should be wary of areas of moving water and around boat docks and houses where bubblers may be installed to reduce ice buildup. The presence of snowmobile tracks or footprints on the ice should not be taken as evidence of safe ice conditions.
Fishermen are encouraged to check ice conditions and avoid situations that appear to present even a remote risk. Testing the thickness of ice can be done with an auger or ice spud at various spots.
For more information ice fishing visit DEC's website: http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/7733.html.
Additionally, the use of fish for bait when ice fishing is generally acceptable. However, anglers are reminded to:
• Follow bait fish regulations to prevent spread of fish diseases and invasive species.
• Use only certified disease-free bait fish purchased at a local tackle store, or personally collected bait fish for use in the same water body in which they were caught.
• Do not reuse baitfish in another water-body if you have replaced the water they were purchased in.
• Dump unused baitfish and water in an appropriate location on dry land.
Anglers looking for a good place to ice fish should check out DEC's Public Lakes and Ponds map available on DEC's website at http://www.dec.ny.gov/pubs/42978.html.
Fishing licenses are now valid for 365 days from the date of purchase.