Several years ago I wandered into one of my favorite fishing haunts shortly after the April 1 trout season opener to check the status of the ice.
Like many avid pond fishing junkies, I watch the ice dissipate each spring like a raccoon eyes a backyard compost pile waiting for just the right time to pounce.
It was a good jaunt through soft spring snow, made only slightly easier by a couple sets of fresh man tracks going my way.
As I neared the pond, it became evident that I wasnt the only raccoon at the pile. There, several hundred feet from shore, sat two anglers on 5-gallon buckets, fishing through the ice.
Now I was taught at an early age that meddling in other peoples business in these parts can get you a radiator full of bullet holes. And Im mighty fond of my truck. So I just backed out the way I had come.
Besides, at the time, I wasnt all that clear on the regulations. After all, the trout season opened on April 1. Having fishable ice after that date was a bonus, I thought as I climbed into my pickup that day.
But I was wrong.
And those two anglers were lucky it wasnt a DEC officer standing at that ponds edge.
Given the thick ice cover on local trout ponds this April 1, I thought itd be timely to clarify the states regulations regarding its specially designated trout waters.
I found the answer to be quite eye-opening. Basically, its illegal to in any way make your own opportunity when it comes to fishing on, alongside or near the ice covering a pond.
That includes drilling or chopping a hole, fishing in an existing man-made hole or breaking up the ice to get to fishable water.