Saturday is Free Fishing Day in New Hampshire, the day when residents and non-residents alike can fish any inland water in the state without a fishing license, free of charge.
Scott Decker, Inland Fisheries Program Supervisor at the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department, says Free Fishing Day is a great way for people to try out the sport of ice fishing.
He advises people going out this weekend to check ice depths, as last weekend's warm temperatures have created variable conditions across the state.
"When you get those warm spells it softens the ice, usually around the edges,” he says. “And it does make it difficult to get on and off a lake or a pond.”
Decker says he believes Friday’s cold snap will help improve conditions, but warns no ice is ever completely safe.
“There are recommended thicknesses for ice fishing,” he says. “We recommend a minimum of 4 to 6 inches of ice for a lone angler to go out and fish, and thicker ice if you’re taking out snowmobiles or heavy bob houses.”
He says high quality black ice is also safer than white, honeycombed ice.
Decker predicts this year’s ice fishing season will be shorter than years past due to above average temperatures earlier this winter.
“It looks like the next couple weeks, though, it’s going to be pretty good for ice making,” he says. “So things should improve as time goes on.”
Saturday is expected to be cold, so Decker encourages those heading out to bundle up.