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Unconventional Ice Fishing

Unconventional Ice Fishing

Story By: Valerie Manne

Spring is probably most commonly thought of as the least enjoyable season in the Adirondacks. Between slushy muddy trails and the black flies starting to come out, most people don’t know what to do outside. If you like to give the mountain trails a rest during mud season, you realize the need to get creative with your outdoor activities.

We turn to fishing and water activities during these months. Trout season opened April 1st and this weekend we hit a pretty sweet spot this time of year: Not a cloud in the sky, 50-degree temperatures, and before the black flies reared their obnoxious heads.

So we started our Saturday morning like any other Adirondack spring morning - pancakes with homemade maple syrup made right in our backyard. Once our bellies were filled with sweet golden goodness, we moved on to hunting for something not as sweet. Worms.

Adirondack Fishing

We walk down to the garden, unsure if the ground was still frozen. Digging along the outskirts of the garden near the compost pile seems most successful. Once we felt like we had enough for the day we went on our way.

Just a 15 minute drive through the mountains until we reached the trailhead. When signing in we realized we were the first ones on the trail since the weekend prior. A light layer of snow from the previous days covered the forest. Winter seemed to hang on a bit longer this year.

About halfway to the pond, the thought came to the back of our minds… what if the pond is still frozen over? It was predicted to be a warm day, but the last week was a bit cooler not allowing for much thawing time. When we got to a hill looking down on the pond we realized our fear was true, it was still frozen.

Thankfully there were two small openings on the inlet to the pond. No way was the majorly frozen pond was going to deter these fishermen. While they prepared their lines, my eyes scanned the open holes for any sign of life. I find it exciting on days where the sun pierces straight through the water, exposing the mysterious golden brown bottom. Then I saw it, the familiar wavering motion of the fish’s pectoral fins. Immediate excitement ensued!

It hardly took a minute before the first fish was on the line - they were hungry! Brook Trout might be small, but they put on a surprising little fight. Big grins immediately came over their determined faces. Success.

These magnificent fish have beautiful red speckles running along the entire length of its body. I can’t help but want to photograph each one’s individual markings as they were catching them.

After a while, the fish grew more cautious as their neighbors mysteriously disappeared by the two openings. After four solid catches, and several fleeting nibbles we were happy with our day. We packed our things and took our catch of the day.


We enjoyed the short walk back to the car. Smells of spring had me reminiscing all the summer activities to come next. The snow was mostly melted towards the beginning of the trail.

Needless to say fish was on our menu for the day.


About the Author:

Valerie is a designer, woodworker, and adventurer. Being an Adirondack native, the Adirondacks have been the place she calls home even when living 3,000 miles away. Although she doesn't live inside the park boundaries at the moment - Most weekends you can find her with a camera exploring its mountains, forests, or lakes.

To see more of Valerie's work, you can visit her website - valeriemannedesign.com

You can also follow along more of her adventures on Instagram - @valeriemannedesign



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