From the pages of Vermont Life Magazine, An excerpt from "Get Started Ice Fishing" by Matt Crawford, which appears in the 2009-10 winter issue of Vermont Life magazine.
A resolutely northern pursuit, ice fishing is a fun winter activity that also allows plenty of time for socializing between parents and children, relatives and friends. And there’s always a good chance of bringing home fresh fish for dinner. Once January rolls around, you can see ice fishing shanties on many ponds and lakes in Vermont.
Ice fishing begins when about 6 inches of good, hard ice form on lakes and ponds. Most years, the season will be in full swing in mid-January. Check ice conditions and do not venture onto unknown ice alone. Never drive a motor vehicle on the ice.
• An auger to drill holes and at least one handline or ice-fishing rod to jig with.
• Warm clothes, particularly on your head, hands and feet. Disposable warming packs are also a great help.
• A 5-gallon bucket is a necessity, both to sit on and to bring home fish with.
• A sled to pull coolers, cookstoves and other gear.
• Bait, equipment, shanty rentals and guided trips are available near many bodies of water. Contact the Vermont Outdoor Guide Association at www.voga.org or call (800) 425-8747 for information. You can also check www.vtfishandwildlife.com for a list of bait shops for selected lakes and ponds.
• Plan on a couple of hours on the ice for your first trip; you can catch plenty of fish in that time.
• In the northwest, the Champlain Islands offer good access and small bays that freeze early and a variety of species like perch, pike and smelt.
• In the Northeast Kingdom, in addition to Lake Memphremagog, Lake Willoughby is a favorite for its propensity to surrender monster lake trout.
• The smaller lakes in the Woodbury-Calais region, Lake Bomoseen in the Rutland region and Harriman Reservoir in southern Vermont are all top spots.
Read more about Hunting and Fishing in Vermont here.