Time to switch gears from the woods to the water

The holiday season brought not only the jolly old elf with his eight tiny caribou, but also a nice cold snap that buttoned up local lakes and ponds like a fine tailored shirt.

Outdoor shops from Warrensburg to Rouses Point reported fishable water and consistent catches kicking off the New Year.

Here is a quick rundown of what they are saying:

Nate West of The Crossroads Country Store and Sport Shop in Chester said Brant, Friends and Loon lakes are all fishable and producing good catches.

He said a 25-pound, 48-inch Northern Pike was caught on Stewart's Pond Jan. 5.

"It was a slob," West said. "The head alone on the fish was huge."

Anglers have been fishing the northern section and narrows of Schroon Lake as well as a number of local ponds that have been iced over since mid-November, he said.

"It's been a good year for so far for making ice," West said.

Anglers are getting some decent browns on Eagle Lake, especially off the cliffs fishing with icicles just under the ice. Paradox has produced some good pike and perch as well, he said.

Norm St. Pierre of Norm's Bait & Tackle in Crown Point said Port Henry's famous Bulwagga Bay holds about eight inches of ice.

The lake is also frozen from the Crown Point bridge south with a covering of between 6-8 inches.

He said anglers are reporting decent luck with perch, with the occasional smelt mixed in.

"Hopefully the smelt fishing will pick back up this year," he added. "Last year was disappointing."

Steve Koop at Adirondack Outdoor Company in Lewis said many of the local ponds like Long and Butternut are fishable. He said some anglers have been braving the few inches of ice on Lincoln Pond for perch and pike.

Northern bays on Lake Champlain like King's Bay have had fishable ice for weeks, Koop said, and have been producing consistent catches of perch on jigs and flies tipped with grubs and eyes.

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