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Anxiously awaiting ice out

I've spent most of the past week enjoying the incredible late season snowpack. Although the brilliant sunshine and warming temperatures eventually turned the snow density to mush by late afternoon, the backcountry ski conditions have been outstanding.

Over the course of three days, I skied across the ponds and over the seven carries of St. Regis Canoe Area. On the Opening Day of trout season, I skied along the old road from Horseshoe Lake into the upper dam on Lows Lake. We wet a line on the open waters of Hitchens Pond, to no avail.

I finished the weekend with a quick trip into Great Camp Santanoni in Newcomb, where I enjoyed a pleasant spring day with a group of old friends.

Of course, at this point in time, my main interest revolves around locating any current open water angling opportunities. It appears they are few and far between and it may be a while before winter's hardtop is finally removed.

However, ice fishermen aren't complaining. They can still be found on many local lakes, where solid ice exists.

As sap buckets begin to sprout from the maples, and geese are again in the air, anglers will continue to dream of brook trout on the backwoods ponds.

April's full moon, scheduled to arrive on the 18th of the month, will prompt the annual smelt run. Even if the ice remains in command of the lakes and ponds, anglers will find opportunities around inlets and feeder streams. As smelt and suckers return to these areas to spawn, larger predatory fish will also be found nearby.

In recent years, I've been keeping a close eye on the burgeoning fisheries of Lake Champlain. The recent addition of another invasive species, alwives, has dramatically affected the Big Lake's fish population.

Since introduction, the alewives have become a primary food source for many species, including lake trout, salmon, pike and perch.

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