There has been heightened interest in outdoor recreational activities this winter due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
“I’ve always found myself drawn back to the solitude of ice fishing in the winter,” said Tyler Mason, as he sat inside his ice shanty on Mill Pond in Grafton.
About 20 years ago, Mason turned his love for the sport into a business venture, and created Lake George Ice Fishing Adventures.
“We actually have an ATV with a utility trailer with a bus seat mounted to it, kind of like a chariot,” he said.
Mason says safe ice on Lake George is still a week or two away, but that people are contacting him looking for his guided ice fishing excursions as a COVID-friendly winter activity.
“A real push for families in urban areas to come out and really experience the outdoors,” he said. “One of the big things I’ve seen is people are into the catch and prepare their own food.”
At Saratoga Tackle and Archery in Schuylerville, business is strong.
“We’ve seen a lot of new people coming into the store to take up fishing,” said Tim Blodgett, who owns the store.
He said these are among some of his favorite customers.
“Bringing new people into the sport is really what it’s all about,” he said. “This is really what I love to do.”
He shares his knowledge on everything from the pole to the bait, which is a hot commodity.
“We’ve unfortunately not been able to have enough bait to get us through a whole week,” he said. “But we’re doing pretty good.”
Back on the lake, the fish weren’t having any of it.
“He’s coming up,” said Mason as he monitored his sonar equipment. “He’s looking at it, and rejecting it.”
But he says it’s all part of the fun.
“The peacefulness and the solitude is something I look forward to every year,” he said.