Vermont ice conditions are deteriorating rapidly on lakes throughout the state because of recent warm weather, according to Col. Jason Batchelder, Vermont’s chief game warden.
“While some of the best ice fishing of the season can come during mid-to-late March, the ice will be going fast,” said Batchelder. “It is especially important to pay attention near inlets, outlets and on reservoirs where water may be drawn down.”
Higher temperatures and runoff from snowmelt will cause ice to deteriorate rapidly from above the surface, and below. People venturing out on the ice should use extreme caution and take all the recommended precautions.
Vermont state law requires that ice fishing shanties be removed from the ice before the ice becomes unsafe or loses its ability to support the shanty out of the water, or before March 28 this year —whichever comes first. All contents, debris, wood, and supports must also be removed so they do not become a hazard to navigation in the spring. Batchelder urges anglers not to wait until the last minute.
The fine for leaving your ice fishing shanty on the ice can be up to $1,000, and shanties may not be left at state fishing access areas.
State game wardens are available for questions by calling Vermont Fish & Wildlife Central Office at (802) 828-1483.