Hi Folks, Still ice fishing and guiding trips on the hard water. There is a flood of information currently about unsafe ice conditions. I have been guiding inland lakes and there is plenty of safe ice for fishing! Lake Champlain is not safe for fishing. Champlain is a completely different beast than the waters I have been fishing. I have been walking on anywhere from 7” to 11” of black ice. Granted it is far less ice than our lakes would generally have this time of the year, yet it is more than enough to walk on. Not a good year for taking 4 wheelers, snow machines, cars and trucks on the ice. I have been trout fishing lately. Never easy catching trout through the ice. First we have to catch proper bait for trout fishing. I like to use live smelt. Smelt are caught on rod and reel and hand lining. The trick is to locate them. Electronics can be very useful. I also like using a green light. The green light attracts plankton which the smelt eat. Jigging a Hali jig with the small chain hook tipped with a maggot works very well once the smelt are located. The electronics help to determine where the smelt are in the water column. Recently, we have been catching smelt in 35’ to 40’ of water suspended. Working up from the bottom until you catch one. Armed with smelt, tip ups for trout can be spread out to cover water. Setting tip ups at different depths in the water column is ideal. However, a high percentage of the flags with fish are on, are on sets that were placed just under the ice to 15’ down. I do set tip ups in shallow and along shoreline, but the most productive areas seem to be deep water with set’s just under the ice.  Looks like a stretch of winter weather has returned to the region. I think I will be able to ice fish for another month at least. Going pike fishing tomorrow. Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home. Have Fun, Willy