Family Ice Fishing Day Reels in its Biggest Crowd - WICU12 HD WSEE Erie, PA News, Sports, Weather, Events

Family Ice Fishing Day Reels in its Biggest Crowd

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Hundreds ice fished for the first time at the East Waterworks Pond on Presque Isle on Saturday.

"I've personally never been ice fishing, but when you've got experts here telling you that it's safe and sound, why not come out here and get the experience?" said Jim Kastner from Niagara Falls, trying out the sport with his son and grandson.

More than 300 people did just the same, getting set up with supplies and coaching all for free from the PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and the S.O.N.S of Lake Erie Fishing Club.

"It's just been fantastic. it's a beautiful day, no wind, but still really good conditions out here on the East Pond," said Brian Gula, an environmental specialist at Presque Isle and an organizer of the event.

The near-perfect ice fishing conditions brought out the largest crowd that organizers can remember.

"The ice is the best its been since probably the 1990's. We have this every year and many years we've had to fish off the platform because there is no ice," said Jerry Skrypzak, president of S.O.N.S. and another event organizer.

There's no shortage of ice this year, with 11 inches of ice on the pond and about 18 inches on the lake. Getting through the thick ice requires some special gear, like the razor-sharp ice auger.

Tools like the auger, the fishing rods, and minnow bait are all provided by DCNR and S.O.N.S., giving families a chance to try out the sport without having to make the investment on equipment.

But come fish-catching time, it's each man for himself.

"Fishing is always good. Catching, not necessarily," Skrypzak said.

Upon being asked the most challenging part of ice fishing, six-year-old Quinn Mauro definitely answered, "Catching the fish."

Catch or not, the day's events hooked at least a few new enthusiasts.

"We're going to be stopping at a sports on the way back," said Steve Mauro, Quinn's dad. "I think we've found ourselves a new recreational activity in the winter."

Of course if you're lucky on the ice, there's the next step.

"Dip them in breadcrumbs, throw them in a fryer, cook for three minutes, then eat!" said Billy Moats, 12, holding up his catch.

Once the weather warms up, S.O.N.S. also provides fishing rods and tackle available for check-out at the Blasco Library, also free of charge - and no auger required.

Submit your event now
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