Dealing with six more weeks of winter

If Punxsutaney Phil was right – and I'd guess he was – the months of February and March will be the wind-down of winter weather, as well as several winter activities that many outdoor enthusiasts enjoy. Most small game seasons close the end of this month, with coyote being the lone one that remains open (until March 28). Crow hunting is also available but not many partake in it these days. But depending on the amount of snowfall and temperatures we experience, there remains a variety of cold weather activities to get us outdoors.

Ice fishing can often be done well into March if the ice thickness on our lakes and ponds remains adequately safe. In addition to warm temperatures and rain, the biggest enemy of late-winter ice is a thick, insulating cover of snow, so be especially careful on any waters that have several inches of snow atop the ice. The best insurance is to drill a test hole fairly close to shore where the water is shallow, then if it's still thick enough, drill a couple more progressively farther out. Any solid ice that's less than 4-5 inches thick at this time of the year indicates dangerous conditions since there could be thin spots where incoming springs are located in the lake bottom.

This Saturday will be the Annual Lions Club Perch Derby at Chenango Lake. The event starts at 7 a.m. And runs until 3 p.m. There will be chances to win raffle prizes and purchase food and drink. Of course you don't have to necessarily be an ice fisherman to enjoy the spectacle and camaraderie, and the event often attracts as many visitors as anglers. Just dress warm and wear boots. And bring your camera.

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