Hamilton Lake Ice Fishing Tournament 2018
The Mansfield University Fisheries and Aquaculture Club, helped out by the Mansfield Bass Fishing Team, hosted another successful ice fishing
tournament this weekend. Ike and I were out on the hardwater along with nearly thirty other teams last Saturday. The event was held on Hamilton Lake, located just outside of the scenic town of Wellsboro, Pennsylvania. Tioga County is well known for its great fishing opportunities, and Hamilton did not disappoint. Check out the story below to see how we performed.
Being rookie ice fishermen, Ike and I managed a decent limit of fish. Our strategy was to get in water around 20 feet, and try to entice some big bluegills, perch, and crappie to take our jigs in the morning, and head out to the deep water for the afternoon. Just after dawn, anglers were lined up across one end of the lake, ready for the words. After waiting a few minutes, it hit seven o’clock and a mob of fisherman headed out toward the main part of the lake. Ike and I didn’t have to much fancy equipment to drag around and were towards the front of the pack. We had his sisters sled in tow, loaded with his Garmin, our makeshift shanty (an old hunting blind), and of course an assortment of snacks. We staked our claim off a subtle point extending from shore.
Quickly guys were boring into the ice and throwing down lines all around us. Before we were even set up, one fella next to us had pulled out a nice 10-inch crappie. The pressure was on. I tied on a small chartreuse glow jig and Ike went with a plastic to try and target some bigger fish.
Our plan was to catch our limit of twelve out of this hole, and then prospect for some bigger fish if this spot didn’t produce well. It wasn’t long before a nice gill took my wax-worm. Soon enough I had a couple more in the bucket, and Ike downsized to a smaller jig as well. In the next two hours we pulled up a few nice blue gills, and Ike hooked into a good-sized perch. We weren’t catching a lot of fish, but they were decent size. We knew we didn’t have a good enough bag to be in the money, so decided it was time to try to find a school with bigger fish. First, we headed out towards the dam, out around 30 feet of water. Everywhere we drilled holes we found fish, but the bite was subtle. We had many nice marks come and inspect our baits, but it was difficult to get them to commit. We managed to get on a pretty good trout bite, unintentionally, and Ike pulled out two brown trout, and a rainbow, all out of different holes. (A lot of other guys also caught trout, so if your looking for a good trout lake Hamilton is one to consider!)
Besides the trout we only managed a few more mediocre sunfish. By weigh in we had our twelve fish and were happy with our performance. Our buddies Andrew and Devin had managed to pull out some good-sized perch. Ike and I came out with 3 lbs. 4 oz., and our buddies 4 lbs. 5 oz. The winners had found the crappie and managed to weigh in at well over 5 lbs. Overall, the tournament was great and I would highly recommend it to anyone looking to get in on some good Pennsylvania ice fishing action.
*If you’re looking to go fishing in the area, make sure you check out the Tackle Shack. The owner is very good about posting reports of current fishing conditions on numerous lakes in the area!