The frigid weather this winter has led to an early freeze on Lake Ontario and St. Lawrence River bays, and an early start to the north countrys ice fishing season.
Business owners say theyre happy to see the customers flowing in, but at the same time are urging anglers to use caution when venturing out.
Chaumont Hardware owner Gregory M. Netto said Thursday morning that there were a couple of shacks out on Chaumont Bay, Three Mile Bay and Johnsons Shore.
Even though the ice between Chaumont Bay and Cherry Island is 3 to 6 inches thick, 5 to 8 inches of snow on top of it makes it harder to judge which areas must be avoided.
Its kind of dangerous to be out there right now, Mr. Netto said.
In Henderson Harbor, veteran fishing guide Ronald J. Ditch said ice fishermen should try to stay reasonably close to the shore, about 300 to 400 yards offshore.
Beyond that, Id be hesitant, said Mr. Ditch, who has spent 58 years chartering on Lake Ontario.
Todd K. Cerow, owner of the 1000 Island Bait Store in Alexandria, said theres about 6 to 8 inches of ice on Eel Bay and 5 to 7 inches on Lake of the Isles.
Anglers have been on the ice for a couple of weeks now, and people are taking their four-wheelers out on some parts of the frozen river as well, Mr. Cerow said. Thursday morning, 40 anglers already had stopped by his Route 12 bait shop for supplies.
But Northern New York ice anglers who plan to venture out this weekend should keep a close eye on the weather.
Thursday afternoon, flood watch and winter storm advisories were issued by the National Weather Service because of the dramatic warm-up and heavy rain expected in the region this weekend.
Forecasters say temperatures should hover between highs in the mid- to low 30s and night chills in the mid- to upper 20s over the weekend.
And the weather service is warning of possible freezing rain, among other hazardous conditions, this afternoon through Sunday afternoon in Jefferson and Lewis counties.
The greatest threat is currently expected in the vicinity of the St. Lawrence and Black River valleys, the National Weather Service said Thursday in a winter storm advisory.
Also, as of Thursday, Lake Ontario and St. Lawrence River water temperatures were well above freezing at approximately 36 degrees and 37 degrees, respectively according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Winter storm advisory: http://wdt.me/2rEZFm
Flood watch issued for North Central New York: http://wdt.me/DfsSUn