We took a drive last night to check conditions on Beechwood Lake, Hamilton Lake, and Hills Creek Lake. Anglers were fishing all three these past few days, though ice conditions vary. With the current forecast, Hammond Lake and Cowanesque Lake should be fishable very soon. Its supposed to get down to 7 tonight and a high of 20 tomorrow. We will try to check both on Sunday.
We parked at the boat launch and found the edges in good shape. As of last night, there was about a 1/2 inch of snow and it was still coming down. Here in wellsbor, we got about an inch total. We checked the ice heading from the launch diagonally towards the dam, out to about 100 feet from shore. We found a consistent 6" the whole way out. Other areas could be thinner, especially where old holes thawed out, opened up, and refroze. Reports from anglers were limited these past few days, but earlier in the week, anglers were catching trout on fatheads and waxworms. Perch have been plentiful and mostly small. A few nicer bluegills and bass were caught too.
Hills Creek Lake-
We started at the Beaver Huts boat launch (stumps end) and worked our way out to the first point. The ice was in good shape with hard edges and 5-6 inches of mostly black ice on the lake. From there, we went to the Pines launch and found the ice in similar shape. Here too, there's about an inch of snow on the ice. Anglers have been catching mostly perch and bluegills lately from both ends of the lake. More of the perch are being caught in deeper water at 10-12 feet, on the dropoffs. Most of the bluegills are being caught in shallower at 5-8 feet. Waxworms have been the best bait. Red, White, and glow plastics are also working. Crappies are still scattered and not being caught in big numbers. Anglers noted catching more of them late in the evening and early at night. Bass and Pickerel continue to provide good tip up action throughout the day. Both fatheads and shiners are working. The best bites have been very early in the morning. Some saw a mid afternoon flurry and a good evening bite too. Keep moving to stay on fish throughout the day.
A few fished here yesterday, but reports back were limited. We checked ice last night and found unstable ice by the boat dock and soft or thin edges around the lake. About 5 feet out, the ice is harder. This is likely due to the lake rising with the last storm. Areas near the creek channel, especially right by the dock, should be avoided! This was open not long ago and there is a lot of debris in the ice. Every hole was a different measurement from 4.5 to just under 5 that we checked down the hill from the upper parking lot to about 40 feet out. With the ice sheet being uneven, and it being very late at night, we did not go any further. Again, there is certainly still spots of thinner ice from the last warmup. With the current temperatures, the ice should be getting better by the minute though. If you head out here, access is definitely safer in this area than by the boat launch, but people did access it up there, by going to the right of the dock 30 or 40 feet, then getting on to the ice.
Where ever you go, be safe out there and use these for reference only! Check conditions yourself before venturing onto ANY body of water.
Good Luck fishing!