Gene Chague: Ice fishing season is over; for some it was a good year
Monday is April 1. and it is time to wrap up ice fishing for this year.
Sure, you may be able to get onto the ice in some lakes of higher elevation, but you are really taking a chance on being unable to get off the ice due to the melting along the shorelines.
More than once a fishing buddy and I had to tread open water along the shoreline while trying to get off the ice. During the day the ice had melted and what was just a hop to get onto the ice in the morning turned out to be a four or five feet leap in the afternoon. Try jumping that distance while dragging an ice fishing sled filled with an auger, hibachi, tip-ups, etc.
It was a nice, long season with lots of big fish being caught. The Onota Boat Livery Ice Fishing Derby ended last weekend and here are the winners. The largest pike was caught out of Onota Lake by John Kozlowski, weighing 23 pounds, 6 ounces; largest bass was caught by Dan Dufur out of Pontoosuc weighing 5 lb.,12 oz.; largest trout was caught out of Onota Lake by Rich Garhardt, weighing 11 lb., 2 oz.; largest perch was caught out of Richmond Pond by Ken Kirchner, weighing 1 lb., 7 oz.; largest crappie was caught out of Pontoosuc Lake by Dean Dobson weighing 1 lb., 9 oz.; largest pickerel was caught out of Stockbridge Bowl by Keith Fortini weighing 5 lb., 6 oz., and largest salmon was caught out of Laurel Lake by Silas Amlaw and it weighed 5 lb., 6 oz. No tiger muskies were checked in this year. Congratulations to all.
The eighth Annual Thomas Wren Memorial Ice Fishing Derby produced some nice fish. Gary Sagendorph took first prize in the Adult Category with a 9 lb., 14 oz. northern pike, Sean Smith took second with a 5 lb., 14 oz. pike and Dan Dufur took third with a 4 lb. largemouth bass. In the kid's Category, Samantha Clark caught a 2 lb., 11 oz. pickerel, Amy Gates took second with a 14 oz. perch and Russell Gates took third with a 10 oz. perch. According to derby organizer Ed Carmel, the Wren children are grown up now and no longer need the proceeds. They were donated to the Pittsfield Sportsmen's Club.
The Lee Youth Football folks are happy these days for last month the Locker Room Ice Fishing Derby raised $2,000 for their cause. According to Derby Director Butsy Crawford, it was one of the best derbies that they have had. The winners were: Adult Category - Chris Gelaznik, a 3.8 lb. pickerel. In the Kids category, there was a tie. Both Jaden Strout and Lukas Trumps weighed in 1.8 lb. trout
There were also other big fish which were caught and the pictures were featured in this column over the winter. Remember 6-year old Grace Ungewitter's 11 lb., 8 oz. northern pike, 6-year old Nathan Luczynski's 6 lb., 1 oz. bullhead and 10-year old Nathan Armstrong's 7 lb., 14 oz. salmon?
All of those fish will result in State recognition.
Yes, it was a memorable season for many not the least being the fishermen pictured. The picture was taken at the Stockbridge Sportsmen's Club Ice Fishing Derby on Echo Lake by SSC member Tim Minkler. Six-year-old Sam St Peter caught a 22-inch pickerel that weighed 3.2 lbs., as well as a bass that was 17 inches long and weighed 3 lbs. His 3-year-old brother Beau caught a 14-inch bass that weighed 1.2 lbs.
"You cannot buy this stuff in the store" said Minkler, referring to the proud youngsters. "It is not for sale ... this is special. "Pictures may fade over the years but memories of that derby will be passed down over the generations in the St Peter's Family."
Well put, Tim.
Time to put away your tip-ups and grab your fishing rod because the following waters were scheduled to be stocked with trout by DFW last week: Pontoosuc Lake, Onota Lake, Laurel Lake, Richmond Pond, Stockbridge Bowl and Lake Garfield.
Over 100 coyotes were entered into Dave's Sporting Goods Coyote Contest this year, and the winners were as follows: Carl Dolle bagged the most coyotes with a tally of 24. Dan Gaylord bagged the heaviest one which weighed 511 2 pounds. Dave Willette practiced what he preaches and bagged the second largest coyote which weighed 45 lbs. He wrote the book on coyote hunting ... literally, it is called Coyote Wars, and it can be purchased at Dave's Sporting Goods.
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