Hi Folks, it has been an unusual winter. Warm, cold, snow, rain, and air temperatures all over the board. My guess is winter is going to be short lived in Vermont at this current rate. I have been guiding several lakes and the ice thickness has ranged from 9” to 13” of good black ice. There is still lots of thin ice of there. Not every lake and pond freezes the same.Make sure you are using caution when walking on the ice and carrying all your safety gear. It is totally safe where I am fishing, yet there are many bodies of water with only 2” to 4” of ice that anglers are fishing. A little too thin for my liking. It seems that Lake Champlain is breaking up already. Particular caution is definitely required when ice fishing the big water. There are parts of Champlain that will not freeze this season. Most of my guiding is not in the Champlain valley. I work more in the NEK area and higher elevation lakes. There is still snow pack at my house. The Champlain Valley is bare ground. The fishing has been pretty consistent. I have been mixing it up between trout fishing and chasing northern pike. Lots of jigging for perch and rainbow smelt. Fire Tiger, chartreuse, and hot orange colored lures have been the most consistent in the pike lakes on perch. Hali jigs are my favorite. Tipped with either a perch eyeball, maggots, or a minnow, they catch everything that swims. We have caught perch in 40’ to 6’ of water. Bigger fish in deeper water. Jigs tipped with minnows produce the bigger yellow belly perch. All of the smelt action has been in deeper water. 25’ to 40’yet you need to locate them in the water column. Smelt are often suspended in the water column and tend to move towards the surface at low light and dark. Smaller Hali jigs in green/silver, silver, and gold tipped with maggots is consistent on the smelt. On the tip-up front, the fishing has been decent. We are catching northern in 8’ to 15’ of water off weed beds. One of the bigger fish recently ate a huge dead golden shiner. Trout sets have been in deeper water. However, I like to set smelt anywhere from right under the ice down to 15’. I say get your licks in now ice fishing, who knows what winter has instore in the next several weeks. Myself, I would like to chase walleye and lake trout. Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home. Have Fun, Willy