The 2022 Open Water and Ice Fishing Laws are officially out https://www.maine.gov/ifw/docs/21-MDIFW-19-Fishing-Lawbook-2022.pdf, and I know more than a few people who have already enjoyed the new locations that have only just become legalized to ice fish in.

Back in early December I heard the excitement and buzz at River’s Edge, but Sally White warned me they wouldn’t all be as easily accessible as Haley Pond. “Most of these places though you’ll only be able to get to by snowmobile”.

Sign posted on window at River’s Edge Sports in Oquossoc

Customer Frank Dellavalle had a positive reaction to the new opportunities. “It will be good for everyone. Good for Airbnb, good for stores, everything!” His son, Wyatt agreed this would be an opportunity for those who usually only rent in the warmer months. “People will be thinking about it, ‘Wow, now that there’s ice fishing on this lake, now I can open my place up for rental.”

Okay, so on occasion when the conversation becomes interesting I turn on my little audio recorder on my phone and take photos (with permission of course). Seen here from left: Good sports (and sportsmen) Wyatt Dellavalle, Frank Dellavalle, Gerry White and Sally White.

Sally said it would be just another reason to visit the area this winter. “Oh yea, it will be more opportunities for everybody in the area because of the snowmobilers.” She also reminded that there would be no live bait. “The only one is Beaver Pond. Everything else is artificial or worms.”

A lot of people have never ice fished so they should probably start off by going with someone more experienced. There are a lot of preparations and aspects one might not consider. For example, River’s Edge owner Gerry White explained that once it gets below a certain temperature if the fish comes out of the water the eyes would freeze and the fish will die.

“Yes,” Sally emphasized “Once you take them out, don’t put them back.”

Area businesses like River’s Edge expect to benefit by selling more fishing equipment like portable ice shacks and little Buddy heaters, but getting more visitors to the area just for ice-fishing might be slow at first.

Sally White- “I mean this will be the first year. A lot of people still don’t know about it.”

Gerry White agreed “A LOT of people don’t know about it.”

The discussion then led to the fact that of course there are (and always will be) mixed opinions about ice-fishing in the area. Wyatt Dellavalle had only just recently heard some not so enthusiastic reactions to the news. “This is quite the heated topic.”

However, his father, Frank was nothing but enthusiastic, “Beaver Pond? Live bait? That’s awesome! Smelts and shiners!”

Of course Gerry and his wife Sally won’t be around to participate in the ice-fishing as they were about to take off on their annual trip south for much needed respite, but he was excited for everyone else. “I’m not going to be here. So send me pictures!”

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