Air temperature is irrelevant in determining ice safety. Four inches is necessary to support a single angler and gear, 7 inches for groups. Anglers are reminded to space holes at least 10 feet apart. And although fish will cluster near structure, stay far from objects poking through the ice.
Lake Erie and tributaries (Erie County): Good ice across Presque Isle Bay, with catches of panfish and bass reported near Misery Bay. Slushy, cold conditions were reported on the tribs. One fly angler hooked 12 steelhead using No. 12-14 soft hackle beadless nymphs on middle Elk Creek, another had no luck at all.
Conneaut Lake (Crawford County): One fisherman reported pulling three gills and six pike through 6 inches of good solid ice on the southern end during a slow day of fishing.
Raccoon Lake (Beaver County): One angler reported no one else on the lake when he landed about a dozen panfish caught on maggot-tipped jigs in open water. Fish and Boat will hold an ice fishing workshop Feb. 1.
North Park Lake (Allegheny County): Last week, during the region’s first polar vortex blast, anglers pulled rainbow trout through the ice. But up and down temperatures since then have weakened the surface, and the state Fish and Boat Commission recommended that “anglers need to be careful and patient for safe ice conditions.”
Twin Lakes (Westmoreland County): Ice covered both lakes, but safety was questionable.
Canonsburg, Cross Creek lakes (Washington County): Fish and Boat reported that both lakes were iced over, but neither had ice thick enough for safe fishing.
Laurel Hill Lake (Somerset County): Anglers reported 5-6 inches and catches of trout and panfish.
Report your catch at firstname.lastname@example.org. Include angler’s name, age (for children), place of residence, species, size, body of water, date of catch, phone number (not for publication) and optional details.