Most of the ice in Tioga County remains in good shape. We have a few days of warm weather coming up and we will update again later this week, however we expect the ice to remain in decent shape. There is enough snow on top to protect the ice and as long as we don't get a significant rain to blow out the edges, the lakes should remain fishable. After tomorrow, night time lows should refreeze any water on top too. Check conditions yourself before venturing onto any body of water!! Use reports online for reference only.
The Hamilton Lake Ice Fishing tournament was a great success on Saturday! Anglers from all over the state came to compete. A total of 37 teams competed, catching bluegills, perch, and crappie. Top bag was a 12 fish limit of mostly crappies and perch for 6.35 lbs! Full results are at the bottom of the page. Scroll down for pics and results. Aside from the tournament, anglers are catching trout, bass, pickerel, and panfish using a variety of techniques and jigs. Waxworms and fatheads continue to be the most popular baits. Mornings have been best. The bite slows considerably after 10AM and picks back up before dark. Anglers found the ice in good shape with hard edges and 7-8 inches of mostly good ice on the lake. Access is possible from the boat launch end, but you must head to the right 20-30 feet before accessing the ice. Ice right at the launch is still unstable and warmer weather coming up will make this area even more dangerous. Access from the dam end, down the hill, is much better.
Anglers found varied conditions on Beechwood with the ice between the boat launch and the dam being in the best shape, but thinning across the lake. Thicknesses varied with the far side coves being the thinnest (southest shoreline). Trout were being caught in good numbers using tungsten fly jigs, swedish pimples, and small jigging raps tipped with waxworms or maggots. Small perch have been abundant too. A few bigger bluegills and decent crappies were caught, however finding good sized panfish was a struggle for many. Pickerel and bass were caught using shiners and fatheads too.
Hills Creek Lake-
Hills Creek has seen a fair amount of pressure again all week. All anglers noted a good morning bite and a very slow mid day bite. Glow, white, pink, chartruese, and silver jigs all worked for bluegills and sunfish. Crappies are being caught in small numbers, but most are very nice sized, including some over 13"! Most were smaller in the 9-11 inch class. The majority of the anglers are finding fish in 3-6 feet of water. The ice is holding at about 5" with good edges.
We drove by Hammond yesterday and the lake is capped. A few anglers have mentioned fishing here, but we have no word on current ice conditions. If we do not get a significant rain, we will update conditions for the weekend. Areas around the campground boat launch and Pine Camp have been frozen for most of the season and these areas could be fishable. Again, use extreme caution and check conditions yourself before attemping to fish Hammond, or any other lake for that matter.
Hamilton Lake Ice Fishing Tournament Results