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Try Ice Fishing At Canaan Street Lake This Winter

Feb 20, 2015 04:18PM ● Published by Victoria Pipas

You may not see yourself as the fishing type or even as an outdoor sports enthusiast, for that matter, but you can’t truly call yourself a Vermonter or a New Hampshirite until you’ve tried ice fishing. And access to this sport may be closer than you think—just head to Canaan Street Lake, a hotspot for family or solo fishing. There are even free ice-fishing workshops offered by local Rotary and recreation organizations in the Upper Valley and beyond. You might try your hand at an ice-fishing tournament! Don’t miss an opportunity to engage in this age-old and well-loved sport.

My parents lived in Canaan for the first four years of their New Hampshire residency, and as they established their roots, it became apparent that ice fishing on Canaan Street Lake was a rite of passage. As my mom describes it, first you clear and smooth a patch of ice in preparation. A surprisingly small hole is drilled into the surface with an ice saw or an auger until a line and sinker can reach the water. This is primitive fishing; no fishing rod is necessary. All you need is a simple fishing line, a good hook, and a bright lure or a tasty piece of bait. In fact, equipment in the form of multiple layers of woolen sweaters is much more useful that any expensive fishing gear you might haul out. Locals bring their camp chairs and thermoses full of steaming libations as defense against the cold.

When ice fishing in New Hampshire, you might hook bass; perch; lake, brown, and rainbow trout; pickerel; or other species of cold-water fish. Just be aware that it’s illegal to catch and keep landlocked salmon; familiarize yourself with more information about the sport, including rules and regulations. If you find that your ice-fishing skills are a bit shaky, you can sign up for a free “Let’s Go Fishing” workshop. Upcoming events in the Upper Valley include a one-day course on Saturday, February 28, hosted by the Grantham Recreation Department. For more information on this and other events, visit the "Let's Go Fishing" class schedule.

Ice fishing, like everything else, has seen many advances during past decades. In recent years, the efficiency of ice fishing in general has benefited from new technology. Electric augers and sonar allow ice fishermen to maintain multiple holes at the same time and catch more fish in a day. While contests such as the famous Ice Festival in Hwacheon, South Korea, attract up to a million visitors who vie to catch the most or the biggest fish, most Green Mountain and Granite Staters are likely to prefer the low-key atmosphere of ice fishing on Canaan Street Lake and more traditional ice-fishing methods. Don’t be intimidated if you’ve never fished before; in fact, backcountry New Hampshire is the perfect venue for starting this sport. For those eager to pursue greater competition, there are many tournaments held each year in the surrounding area.

Whether you’re an experienced fisherman or just a curious tourist, ice fishing is beautiful in its simplicity. Just grab the essentials and head to Canaan Street Lake, or any safely frozen lake near you. A good rule of thumb as to whether the ice is thick enough is if there are other ice fishermen already on the lake. Snowmobiles and pickup trucks? Definitely safe! 

If your looking for some Ice Fishing fun the Mark Clifford Memorial Annual Kids Ice Fishing Derby, organized by the Canaan Lion's Club will be held at Canaan Street Lake on March 1st.

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