snow shoe person walking in the snow photo Breathtakening Views and Peaceful Interludes.
Ice-fishing, skiing and snowmobiling are just a few ways to cast-a-way the winter blues.

Winter Activities

Fun does not always come in the sun. For several months of the year nature graces us with white power to insulate the flowers from the winter´s air. During this time residents and visitors alike find many activites to pass the time.

Cross-Country Skiing and Snow Shoeing

Generally, the best skiing and snow shoeing is performed along certain sections of park roads which are closed to vehicular traffic. Visit are hiking section for a list of parks. Three to four inches of snow are needed to provide a good base. Most of the park trails are narrow, steep and rocky; but a few sections offer fair possibilities for good skiers. A minimum of six to eight inches of snow is needed for safe trail skiing. All trails are designated as foot trails, not ski trails. Use care: You are the best judge of snow conditions and of your ability. Neither roads or trails are groomed or broken by machines.

When the weather cooperates there is good cross-country skiing for the beginer and intermediate. Snow conditions are often significantly different from conditions in the nearby metropolitan areas.These conditions change quicky, so skiers are advised to phone local businesses ahead of arriving.

snowtubing photo

Downhill Skiing and Snow-Tubing

There are commerial outfitters in the area that cater to family-style ski outtings. The trails are well groomed and maintained. The outfits are equipt with snowmakers, chairlifts and illumination for night skiiing. Lodges offer a welcome break and warm drinks.

Ice Fishing

Ice fishing opportunities abound in New York State. Winter anglers catch a variety of fish; primarily perch, sunfish, pickerel, northern pike and walleye. In addition, many waters throughout New York State are open to fishing for trout, lake trout and landlocked salmon.

Fishing through the ice requires skill and knowledge as does open water angling. But, anyone can ice fish successfully if he/she does the homework. Learning about the water to be fished, the equipment and its capabilities, proper clothing and safety precautions are all part of a successful, enjoyable winter fishing experience. Perhaps the best way to get started is to accompany a friend or neighbor on a half-day ice fishing outing. If you are unable to locate anyone to go with, the next best alternative is to visit a tackle shop in a popular ice fishing area. The proprietors are interested in seeing that you have a successful and enjoyable trip and will provide you with all of the necessary equipment. You may also watch for announcements of local ice fishing contests or tournaments run by local sportsmen's clubs.

Most all ponds and lakes offer ice fishing potential. Their characteristics define the kinds of fish that may be caught. Large, shallower ponds and lakes favor species such as chain pickerel, northern pike, yellow perch and sunfish. Deepwater lakes need to be fished selectively to get good catches of northern pike, walleye or lake trout. Brown trout, rainbow trout and landlocked salmon, where they may legally be taken, are often found in deep lakes, which provide necessary cool temperatures in the summertime. However, when these lakes are ice-covered, trout are frequently caught while cruising just a few feet under the ice. The local tackle shop where you purchase your bait should be able to advise you on where fish are currently being caught.

ice fishing on a lake

Ice safety...

Safe ice is the number one consideration. A minimum of three to four inches of solid ice is the general rule for safety. Ice thickness, however, is not uniform on any body of water. The guidelines presented here are based on clear, blue, hard ice on non-running waters. Remember, your own good judgement is essential!

The American Pulpwood Association has developed a table for judging the relative safety of ice on lakes and streams. This is just a guide; use your own good judgement before going out on any ice. Avoid areas of moving water, including where streams enter the lake, and around spillways and dams.

Ice Thickness Table

Ice Thickness Permissible Load Note: This guide is based on clear, blue, hard ice on non-running waters. Slush ice is about 50 percent weaker. Clear, blue ice over running water is about 20 percent weaker. Many ice anglers do not like to fish on less than five inches of ice, and do not like to drive a pick-up truck on less than 15 inches of ice. Use common sense!
2 inches one person on foot
3 inches group in single file
7.5 inches one car (2 tons)
8 inches light truck (2.5 tons)
10 inches truck (3.5 tons)
12 inches heavy truck (7-8 tons)
15 inches 10 tons
20 inches 25 tons


New York State is a leader in snowmobile education and offers one operator training course for snowmobilers of all ages beginning at age 10. This course provides fundamental information which all snowmobilers should possess in order to ensure the safety of riders and other trail users. Successful completion of this course results in the award of a NYS Snowmobile Safety Certificate.

Some of the above information was provided by the NYS DEC. Ice fishing

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